5 players whose journey to the Premier League was emotional
In an era when player scouting has advanced several notches, and 'prodigies' and 'wonderkids' are spotted at ages less than 10, the old fashioned story of a player making his mark after being groomed the tough way is rare, to say the least.
The players who man up in lower leagues after being overlooked by big name youth academies, and make their mark on the highest stage years later, still hold a fundamental romance in the world of football. Such players are part of the myriad reasons why we love, live and breathe the beautiful game of football.
Here's a look at a few players who made emotional and memorable journeys with their beloved clubs to the Premier League:
#1 Troy Deeney
When Leicester had a £25m bid rejected for Troy Deeney in the summer, it was written off in several quarters as an instance of reckless money spree prevailing in the Premier League. However, when a club that signed N'Golo Kante for £5.6m decides to flex its financial muscle and shell for Deeney, it serves to illustrate the regard at which he is held.
After spells in non-league football for Chelmsley Town followed by a spell at League One side Walsall, Deeney signed for Watford in August 2010 and has been there since. After struggling initially for a couple of seasons, the Englishman found his feet and gradually rose in importance until he was named captain of Watford prior to 2014-15 campaign.
In 2014, Odion Ighalo joined the Hornets and the duo have formed a fearsome attacking force for Premier League defences and wreaked havoc in the first half of 2015-16 season before petering out in the second half.
Aston Villa might have had other ideas when they failed to offer him terms as a 15-year-old.