West Ham full-back Aaron Cresswell hit a new height in his career this week when he was called up to England’s national team and the 26-year-old certainly worked hard to get to this stage.
Working his way up through three divisions after being released from Liverpool’s academy as a teenager, Cresswell’s rise is the latest success story for the development of grassroots players into England internationals- with the Hammers man following the likes of Dele Alli and Jamie Vardy into the Three Lions squad.
Now, ahead of what could potentially be his England debut, Cresswell spoke to The Telegraph about his release from the Merseyside giants and how he put that behind him to focus on his football career.
“I couldn’t get my head around it at first. They pull the parents to one side and tell them, ‘It’s not to be but it’s not the end’. I was devastated. As a kid, you are in a bubble of playing for Liverpool. It was all I had done for two years and I had enjoyed it so much.”
“It wasn’t about a job, or thinking, ‘I won’t make it’. It was about playing for the club I supported. Everyone around me was a Liverpool fan. It was just purely for the love of football.”
“My dad said, ‘It is not the end of the world. Go back with your mates. Just play with a smile on your face and enjoy it’. That’s what I did. I went back with the lads.”
Cresswell was then picked up by Tranmere Rovers, making his debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old, before then enhancing his reputation with Ipswich Town- the final stop before his chance in the Premier League, which came following his transfer to West Ham.
In the two-years since, Cresswell has made almost 80 Premier League appearances for the Hammers and his involvement with the England squad this week is his first taste of international football at any level.