From milking cows to scoring goals – the story of Enner Valencia

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Having taken a move to West Ham in his stride, Enner Valencia this week revealed how in order to purchase his first pair of football boots, he was required to work on his dad’s farm milking cows.

But while it is a humble start to prepare someone for a multi-million pound career in football, it isn’t the strangest way some of the game’s biggest names started out.

Here are our five ‘favourites’…

Rickie Lambert – Beetroot lid screwer-oner

The ultimate rags to riches story, Lambert, frustrated at the lack of opportunities he was encountering on the pitch, took up work at a local beetroot factory back in 2001.

His experience screwing on lids to jars of the purple stuff for £20 a day didn’t last long, as in March that year Macclesfield came calling, and the striker’s rise to the big time began.

Papiss Cisse – Ambulance Driver

At the age of 15 the Newcastle striker spent his time driving ambulances in Senegal between his home town and capital Dakar.

It hasn’t been lost on the striker how privileged he is to be in his position and has pledged to send enough money to purchase another ambulance for his poor city of birth.

Neil Warnock – Chiropodist

Tasked this season with keeping Crystal Palace, Warnock has always seemed to be in a profession where people’s feet were a vital part of the business.

In the past describing how his “speciality was ingrowing toenails” and how he “was very good at them”, the former Sheffield United boss has revealed that he has helped club physios with things they weren’t sure about.

Gheorghe Popescu – Government Informant

When a newspaper in Romania revealed the former Barcelona and Tottenham man to have been a government spy, he vehemently denied it but was soon to reveal he did have a role to play during his country’s communist past.

The defender admitted that during 1985 he had written notes on four team mates and passed them onto the country’s former dictator Nicolae Ceausescu whilst playing for Universitatae Craiova.

Andy Cole – Popstar (well, sort of)

When he wasn’t banging in goals for Manchester United in the late 90s, Andy Cole went about his way to share his other talents with the world.

He released a cover of Gap Band’s “Outstanding”, with his own twist on the lyrics.

We will let you judge for yourself how well you think it did…

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.