There are many semi-professional footballers up and down the country plying there trade in non-league football, from Combined Counties divisions to Blue Square Conference. 

Many of them have been released by professional clubs and have to start from the bottom of the football pyramid and work their way back through the leagues.

Crystal Palace's new club-record signing Dwight Gayle will know everything about what it takes, his three-year-rise to the top of the English game has been quite a story.

Released by Arsenal as a teenager, Gayle found himself plying his trade for Essex Senior League club Stansted FC where he went on to score 57 goals in the 2010/11 season. 

Snapped up by League 2 Dagenham & Redbrige in 2011, Gayle was sent out on loan to Blue Square Conference North side Bishop's Stortford where he impressed further and amassed 42 goals in the 2011/12 season. 

Gayle's form convinced Dagenham to give him his chance at the professional level of the English game and he managed to notch seven goals in 18 appearances for The Daggers. Gayle's performances were not going unnoticed further up the ladder, and Peterborough United struck a deal with Dagenham for Gayle to join The Posh on loan. 

The deal was made permanent in the January transfer window, with Peterborough shelling out £750,000 for the young forward. 

Gayle went on to be Peterborough's joint-leading goal scorer last season hitting 13 goals in 29 appearances, but was unable to save the club from suffering relegation.

Gayle is now Crystal Palace's club-record signing for a fee of £4.5 million which may rise. This may put some pressure on the young strikers shoulders, but not succumbing to pressure so far in his career I don't see why Gayle won't take to Premier League football like a duck to water. 

Gayle is a hard-working striker with blistering pace, he scores all types of goals although he is not the biggest standing at 5'9", he is surprisingly strong.

Many are tipping Gayle to be a future star in the English game and with England manager Roy Hodgson bemoaning the lack of English strikers available to him, if Gayle has a good season, maybe, just maybe he could find himself on a plane with the England squad preparing for the World Cup.


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