At the age of 30 he gave up sales and marketing to pursue his calling as a coach and ended up in the MLS for two years. He's now moved to Seoul to start again...
There are key differences - largely off the pitch - but Liverpool fan Sam Drury has spotted five things that are similar five years on. A big sale, a big Italian arrival...
1) Name Joe Hart's first club.
2) Name either of the two clubs where Daniel Sturridge spent time as a youth player before joining Manchester City.
3) Who were the opposition in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's first competitive match for England?
4) Which member of the squad scored in his only England appearance so far?
5) Which member of the squad won the 2012 PFA Young Player of the Year award?
6) Against which team did Ashley Young score his first goals for Manchester United?
7) In which year did Manchester United sign Michael Carrick?
8) Which player in the squad has scored the second-highest number of England goals?
9) Who has the most caps: Ashley Young, Michael Carrick or James Milner?
10) Which Championship club was Tom Cleverley loaned to in 2009/10?
11) Slightly harder...Which Championship was Leon Osman loaned to in 2003/04?
12) Which member of the England squad was named Man of the Match in the 2009 League Cup final between Manchester United and Spurs?
13) Which current member of the senior squad holds the record for most caps for the U21s?
14) Which current Premier League club loaned Fraser Forster from Newcastle in 2009/10?
15) Who has scored more goals for England: Danny Welbeck or Theo Walcott?
16) Steven Gerrard won his 100th cap against Sweden in November, but what landmark is he on course to achieve for Liverpool this season?
17) Against which team did Steven Taylor make his England debut?
18) Which two players lead the England scoring chart in 2014 World Cup qualifying with three strikes each?
19) Who scored his first goal for England in the 5-0 win over San Marino in October?
20) How many national teams has Roy Hodgson managed (including England)?
Come this way for the answers...