Non-League football is getting more popular and more recognition every year and many of the players that play in non-league are players that have been released from professional clubs, we have the famous story of Jamie Vardy and his story is incredible however there are more players to both keep an eye on and that have worked hard to get to the level they are playing at to this day.
A player some people may or may not have heard of is Reise Allassani, former England U16 & U17 player, released by Crystal Palace in 2016, he was then sidelined with a knee ligament injury, once he recovered he signed for non-league side Dulwich Hamlet.
In 2017-2018 season Allassani had scored an impressive 16 goals in 28 games which deservedly earned him a contract with Coventry City.
Another example is Andre Gray. In 2010, Gray was released by Shrewsbury Town after making just 5 appearances for the club. Gray then signed a 1 year contract with Conference North side Hinckley United, Gray spent 2 years with Hinckley scoring 29 goals in 65 appearances.
In 2012 Gray signed for Luton Town on loan with the view to a permanent contract, at the time, Luton were playing in the Conference, scoring on his debut and also in the next 3 games he was an instant hit with the fans, with 7 goals in 12 games Gray earned a permanent move to Luton.
In 2013-2014 season Gray was a massive part of Luton’s promotion season with 30 goals in 45 appearances, as expected this caught the eye of a number of clubs and in 2014 he signed for Brentford, after another successful season Gray moved to Burnley in August 2015 and was top scorer in the Championship that season with 25 goals and they earned promotion to the Premier League. Now a Premier League player with Burnley he continued his fine form scoring 10 goals in 36 appearances, 4 years before, Gray was playing Non-league football.
In 2017 Gray signed for Watford in the Premier League, Andre Gray has spent the last 5 years playing in the Premier League, again a strong example of the talent in non-league.
Another player that has to be mentioned (Not Jamie Vardy this time) is Keshi Anderson.
Anderson was signed by Crystal Palace in 2015 from at the time, Evo-Stik league Southern Division One Central club Barton Rovers. Originally Anderson had trials with Brentford, he scored a six minute hat-trick against Palace in an U21 game!
Anderson left Palace for Swindon in 2018 after various loan spells and has recently signed for Blackpool.
Current Non-League players to keep an eye on..
Josh Kelly – Currently at Maidenhead United in the National League and he has certainly made a name for himself in Non-League over the last few years, a few years back Kelly had a loan spell with Walton Casuals who at the time played in Isthmian League South where he scored an incredible 40 goals in one season. Kelly has been on the radar of many football league clubs over the last few years and with him still only being 21, I am sure we will see him in the football league soon enough.
Kabongo Tshimanga – Currently playing for Boreham Wood in the National League, the former MK Dons player is again a player that I am sure is already being looked at by a number of Football League clubs. In the 2018/19 season, Tshimanga had a successful season with Oxford City in the National League South finishing top scorer that season. In the most recent season, Tshimanga has been with Boreham Wood in the National League and again he has had a successful season finishing joint 2nd top scorer with 18 goals, still only 23 years of age he is another one to look out for and I am sure we will see him in the Football League one day.