Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has urged his club to look to the non-league divisions for potential signings after the success of Leicester front man Jamie Vardy.
Vardy famously broke the Premier League record for goals in consecutive games this weekend as he bagged his eleventh successive goal against Smalling’s United.
The Mirror have reported Smalling’s recent comments:
“If you can find some sort of hidden gems in the local sides or non league sides, it’s a no brainer to give those guys a chance.”
“With Jamie’s success I think you will see them have a little bit more of a wider look”.
Smalling himself started his career at lowly Maidstone United, and although legends such as John Barnes, Ian Wright, and Stuart Pearce also started in non league tiers, the practice of the country’s biggest clubs looking beyond the top couple of flights has become less common since the advent of the Premier League in 1992.
Sunderland’s Duncan Watmore is an example from more recent times – he joined Sunderland from Altrincham in 2013 for an undisclosed fee.
According to the Sun, Alex Woodyard (Braintree Town), Brady Hickey (Barwell), and Sean Raggett (Dover Athletic) all have the ability to make the jump.