Here at the Footy Gang, we have enjoyed writing about the top 10 footballers born in Sheffield, as well as the top 10 footballers born in Stockport. In this article, we move to Birmingham to see the top 10 footballers born in Birmingham who went on to become professional footballers.
Nathan Redmond, now at Premier League side Southampton made his debut for Birmingham as a 16-year-old, back in 2010. After three successful seasons at the club, the diminutive winger moved to the then Premier League side Norwich City. Lee Clark, the manager of Birmingham City at the time, cited on the Undr The Cosh football podcast, that Redmond "had to move for financial reasons", due to the ongoing financial issues at Birmingham City at the time.
Jack Butland also a young bright prospect moved to Stoke City in the same period as Redmond left the club. In 2016, Redmond moved to Southampton for a fee of around £10 million. At the time of writing, Redmond has made 154 appearances for Ralph Hasenhuttl's side, scoring 19 times. Redmond has been capped once for England, with his debut coming against Germany in 2017, a match that England lost by one goal to nil.
Image credit: WBA
Romaine Sawyers, 29, was born in Birmingham and started his career at West Bromwich Albion. Unfortunately for Sawyers, he didn't manage to make an appearance for West Brom and after loan spells at Port Vale, Shrewsbury and Walsall, Sawyers in fact signed permanently for Walsall in 2013.
Sawyers spent a successful three seasons at Walsall, under the guidance of then Walsall manager and now Aston Villa manager Dean Smith. Sawyers let his contract run down at Walsall and it 2016, he was reunited with Dean Smith at Championship side Brentford. Sawyers was an integral man for Brentford, winning the 'player's player of the year award' in the 2017-18 season. In July 2019, Sawyers left Brentford to re-join his boyhood club West Bromwich Albion for an estimated fee of around £3 million.
Current Watford talisman and captain Troy Deeney started his career at Non-League side Chelmsley Town. Deeney managed 23 goals over 2 seasons for the Non-League West Midlands side. Deeney's impressive form earned him a trial at League Two side Walsall. After a loan spell at Halesowen Town, Deeney managed 27 goals for Walsall over four successful seasons at the club before signing for Watford in 2010.
In 2012, Deeney was jailed for 10 months after pleading guilty to affray. Deeney went on to spent three months in jail before returning to play professional football for Watford. Since signing for Watford in 2010, Deeney has gone on to make nearly 400 appearances for the club, scoring 131 goals.
Image credit: Leicester Mercury
Demarai Gray, despite only being 24 years of age is a Premier League winner after helping Leicester City win the league in the 2016/17 season. Gray started his career at Birmingham City, making 72 appearances for his boyhood club and scoring 8 goals before Premier League side Leicester City swooped for the talented winger for a fee of around £4 million.
Gray spent 5 successful seasons at The Foxes, helping them to win the Premier League and also scoring the emotional goal against Cardiff City, a week after the tragic passing of Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. In January 2021, Demarai Gray moved to Germany, signing for Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen.
Current Millwall striker Matt Smith was born in Birmingham and spent his youth career at Cheltenham Town. Smith now 31, was released by Cheltenham as a youngster and signed for Non League side New Mills, as well as studying at the University of Manchester. After spending a year in America during his final year at University, Smith returned to England and signed for Redditch United, before a prolific spell at Solihull Moors.
His impressive form for Solihull, earned him a move to League One side Oldham Athletic. Smith struggled to break into the Oldham first team, spending time out on loan to Macclesfield Town who went on to get relegated out of the Football League. After his return from Macclesfield, Smith managed to break into the Oldham starting 11, scoring twice against Liverpool in the FA Cup.
In 2013, Leeds United signed Smith from Oldham after the striker rejected a new deal. Smith spent one season at Leeds, scoring 12 times before joining Fulham. Smith went on to spend three seasons at Fulham, as well as a loan spell at Bristol City. Smith joined QPR in 2017, spending 2 successful seasons at the club, scoring 21 times before signing for fellow Championship side Millwall.
Image credit: The Times
Louie Sibley, 19, joined Derby County at 8 years old. In 2019, Sibley made his debut against Scunthorpe in the Carabao Cup. Sibley has been capped for England at under 17,18 and 19's and is expected to have a bright future in the game.
Under the tutelage of former England international, and current Derby County manager Wayne Rooney, the talented midfielder has become a key man for the Championship side. Sibley recently signed a new deal at Derby County, to keep him at the club until the end of the 2023/24 season.
Nathan Delfouneso, 30, started his career at his boyhood club Aston Villa. Delfouneso has highly regarded by the academy staff at Aston Villa however Delfouneso struggled to ever hold down a starting berth at the club. After multiple loan spells away from the club, Delfouneso signed for Blackpool in 2014, scoring a meagre 3 times before being released at the end of the 2014/15 season.
Delfouneso had a small stint at Blackburn, as well as a loan at Bury. After a disappointing spell at Blackburn, Delfouneso signed for Swindon Town and after only scoring once in eighteen matches, Delfouneso re-signed for Blackpool in 2017. Delfouneso spent three seasons at Blackpool, scoring 24 goals before signing for Ian Evatt's Bolton Wanderers at the start of the 2020/21 season. Delfouneso's teammate Antoni Sarcevic has stated that it is his aim to get Bolton Wanderers back into the Championship.
Image credit: The Blue Room
James Vaughan, 32, started his professional career at Premier League side Everton. At the age of 16, Vaughan scored in the Premier League against Crystal Palace, becoming the youngest player ever to score in the Premier League. After multiple loan spells away from Everton, Vaughan left the Premier League side in 2011 to sign for Norwich City.
Vaughan scored 7 goals for Everton in 47 appearances for the club. Since leaving Everton in 2011, Vaughan has gone on to play for 9 other English clubs: Norwich, Huddersfield, Birmingham City, Bury, Sunderland, Wigan Athletic, Portsmouth, Bradford City and Vaughan's current club Tranmere Rovers. Since signing for Tranmere, at the time of writing, the journeyman striker has scored 18 goals in 25 appearances for Keith Hill's side.
Image credit: Wales Online
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, 28, currently plays for Neil Warnock's Middlesbrough in the Championship. It has recently been revealed that Mendez-Laing was sacked from his former club Cardiff City after testing positive for cocaine. Mendez-Laing started his career at Wolverhampton Wanderers but never made a first team appearance for the club. After multiple loan spells away from the club, Mendez-Laing signed for Peterborough in 2012. Mendez-Laing had a successful start to his career but his form faltered, spending time away from the club at Portsmouth, Shrewsbury and Cambridge before signing for League One side Rochdale on a permanent deal in 2015.
Mendez-Laing refound his form for the North-West based side, scoring 15 times in two seasons at the club before Championship side Cardiff swooped for the winger. Mendez-Laing spent 4 seasons at Cardiff, gaining promotion to the Premier League and playing a regular basis in the Premier League before he was sacked in September 2020.
Image credit: Oxford Mail
Jerome Sinclair, 24, currently plies his trade in Bulgaria for CSKA Sofia, on loan from Championship side Watford. Sinclair was tipped to become one of England's best ever strikers and started his career at Premier League champions Liverpool, joining them as a 14 year old from West Bromwich Albion.
After failing to break into the Liverpool first team, the highly-rated youngster turned down a £4 million move to Bournemouth before joining Premier League Watford shortly after. Sinclair has struggled to break into the first-team picture at Watford, only making 9 appearances for the London side.
Sinclair has spent 5 loans spell away from Watford, at Sunderland, Birmingham City, Oxford, VVV Venlo and now CSKA Sofia. At the age of 24, Sinclair a prolific goalscorer in his youth days has only scored 7 goals in professional football.
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