Jamie Vardy joined by Ian Wright in list of players who rose to the top from obscurity

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Jamie Vardy: from non-League to non-stop success. It's the miracle story that can't be avoided.

Four years ago he was plying his trade for Halifax in the Northern Premier League; now, he ranks as one of the most deadliest strikers in the Premier League.

Vardy's rise through the ranks is a story that football loves to embrace. A move to Fleetwood followed quickly by a transfer to Leicester was accredited to his never say die work ethic and knack of being in the right place at the right time.


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For all that has been said about Vardy, he has worked tirelessly for his place in the Premier League and works the same way for every single goal he scores.

But as we all know, he isn't the only one to make a move from the humble lower leagues to the top flight in quick succession. Here's a list of just a few noteworthy names:

Charlie Austin (Poole Town)

Like his countryman, Charlie Austin has gone from a lower league gem to a highly coveted hitman thanks to his efforts that saw him brush shoulders with the likes of Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa last season.

But back in his younger days, Austin was causing trouble in the Wessex Premier League with Poole Town, scoring an incredible 48 goals in 42 games whilst doubling as a bricklayer.

Now 26 and still with Premier League suitors hot on his heels, Austin went from laying bricks to Premier League foundations in a matter of four seasons.

Les Ferdinand (Hayes)

The 48-year-old joined QPR for a cheap £15,000 from non-League Hayes in 1987, where he notched a phenomenal 80 goals in 163 games.

His arrival at Newcastle seven years later was nothing less than emphatic, making the Premier League Team of the Season in his first campaign on Tyneside. His goals helped the Magpies push for that famous title league chase with Kevin Keegan at the helm.

Ferdinand later went on to play for Tottenham, West Ham and Leicester City.

Chris Smalling (Maidstone United)

Currently the backbone of Premier League giants Manchester United, it wasn't very long ago that Chris Smalling was playing in the Isthmian Premier League.

As a result, many were scratching their heads when the Red Devils signed a relatively unknown player who had only played a handful of times for London side Fulham.

Five years on and a few England caps to go with it, the 25-year-old has proved that talent scouts monitoring the lower divisions in English football get it right from time to time.

Yannick Bolasie (Rushden & Diamonds)

Spells at Conference side Rushden and Diamonds led to periods in the Maltese Premier League before Yannick Bolasie started making a name for himself in League two at Plymouth Argyle, where he eventually earned himself a move to Bristol City.

Bolasie, who played at Barnet not even four years ago, has since gone on to become one of the most exciting and daring wingers in the Premier League at Crystal Palace.

Ian Wright (Greenwich Borough)

Probably the most well-known case of a Premier League player kicking off late, Ian Wright didn't make his mark in English football until his 22nd birthday when he put pen to paper at First Division side Crystal Palace.

During his six-year spell with the Eagles, the Englishman scored 117 goals and earned himself the accolade of Palace 'Player of the Century', before being awarded a big move to fellow Londoners Arsenal.

Wright, as many will know, went on to become one of the greatest strikers in Arsenal's history. His 128 goals in 220 games earned him Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup honours, as well as individual accolades in the PFA Premier League Team of the Season.

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