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...
The numbers in brackets refer to their position in the last England ladder - after the San Marino/Montenegro qualifiers in March.
1 (2) - Wayne Rooney
"We cannot say we are disappointed. Rooney is the main threat of the England team's attack, so we have to use his absence," said Ukraine's Andriy Yarmolenko in the build-up to Tuesday's bore-fest. While they did not 'use his absence' quite well enough, he was right about Rooney being England's main threat. While the cynical English mutter about England being better off without England's best player, the rest of the world laughs and points to him scoring in seven of his last ten appearances in an England shirt. Except they probably don't keep the stats like we do.
2 (3) - Steven Gerrard
Even when his passing game deserted him - and it really did - it was the captain who foiled a late Ukraine chance with a timely clearance after carefully tracking his man. Gerrard is another who is widely derided by those who would rather see Michael Carrick being all safe and sideways in his stead, but when on song, he is the heartbeat of this England side. That probably made you do a little sick in your mouth and for that we do not apologise.
3 (1) - Jack Wilshere
The halo dropped a little against Ukraine but Roy Hodgson must take at least some of the blame for pushing him into a No. 10 role when his best work comes from a deeper position alongside Steven Gerrard. We would rather see him surprise with a burst of urgency and forward motion than be constantly feeling under pressure to produce a trick, a flick or a killer through ball. In an ideal world we would have a half-decent No. 9 (Sturridge?) that would allow Rooney to play No. 10 and we could play our central midfielders in, wait for it, central midfield.
4 (8) - Glen Johnson
Probably the most frightening example of Hodgson's paucity of options is that Johnson's absence directly leads to Kyle Walker. We are always only one injured half-decent right-back away from utter disaster.
5 (4) - Joe Hart
There was a time when Hart topped this ladder and we desperately hoped he would fall down the list through a combination of a) increased goalkeeping competition and b) improved outfield performances. Unfortunately there was a c) for cock-ups too.
6 (6) - Danny Welbeck
Eight goals in 18 caps. Not bad for a player who sometimes looks utterly confused by the concept of goalposts. He was excellent against Moldova and even more impressive in absentia against Ukraine as Milner toiled. Some footballers just look better in an England shirt. Think Darius Vassell. He probably won't thank us for that comparison.
7 (7) - Ashley Cole
The so-called 'left-back debate' should end with four words: He's better at defending.
8 (16) - Gary Cahill
Ukraine offered little but what they did offer was snuffed out intelligently by Phil Jagielka and the particularly excellent Cahill. It was supposed to be our weakest area but emerged the strongest in England's toughest qualifying test. We wonder how many other teams bound for the World Cup have a jobbing centre-half as their eighth most important player.
9 (12) - Phil Jagielka
Not since 2006 has the England centre-half partnership remained unchanged for five consecutive matches. And this pair are just as good as Rio Ferdinand and John Terry in their pomp, right?
10 (20) - Daniel Sturridge
He's started just one game for England (a dire draw with the Republic of Ireland from which nobody emerged with any credit) but he is the in-form England striker of 2013 (13 goals in 17 games) and will surely start when England need goals. A front four of Welbeck, Sturridge, Rooney and Walcott suddenly looks really quite threatening. It's worth noting that only one of that quartet was available v Ukraine. We're cheering up now.
11 (10) - Theo Walcott
Infuriating, isn't he? Now think of a better option on the right side of midfield. Hodgson obviously can't, which is why Walcott has started the last seven games for which he has been available. And you know what, we missed him in Montenegro.
12 (11) - Leighton Baines
Thankfully our second-choice left-back is a whole lot better than our second-choice right-back.
13 (5) - Tom Cleverley
Picking a man who has almost no eye for goal in the No. 10 role is one of Hodgson's more bizarre predilections but when push came to shove against Moldova and Ukraine, his beloved Wilshere-lite was cast aside in favour of a triumvirate of the real Wilshere, Gerrard and Frank Lampard. He also faces the very obvious threat of being ousted from the Manchester United first team by Marouane Fellaini, who tackles, dribbles, shoots and grows hair better than Cleverley. Hodgson's head boy is likely to slip further.
14 (9) - James Milner
Works hard, never gets injured, never looks like he might do anything remotely interesting. If England are going to Brazil then so is Milner. He will pack plenty of polo shirts.
15 (17) - Frank Lampard
For someone who is apparently being eased out of the England reckoning, he has started a whole barrel-load of England games lately (four of last five). He should get a last hurrah in Brazil, even though that hurrah should mostly be shouted from the bench.
16 (21) - Ben Foster
Out of retirement to keep Lampard company.
17 (24) - Chris Smalling
There was talk of Smalling replacing Walker at right-back for the Ukraine game but we suspect that the fuss over Walker's laughing gas exploits made that decision impossible. About ten minutes in, we suspect Hodgson was wishing he'd made that call. We know the England boss is a Smalling fan - now he just needs to convince David Moyes. We wouldn't be utterly surprised if Smalling ends up making a World Cup-saving loan move in January.
18 (13) - Michael Carrick
Remember when he didn't want to be considered for England because he was always on the bench? To those who were crying out for Carrick against Ukraine, we say two words: Remember Montenegro.
19 (22) - Phil Jones
You know those photographs they always take of the departing England squad getting on the plane? Hide behind an air hostess, Phil.
20 (RE) - John Ruddy
Back fit, back playing for Norwich and back in the squad.
21 (14) - Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
We reckon the first 20 on this list are pretty much nailed on for the squad already, which leaves just three places. Right now, The Ox should be looking over his shoulder at Ross Barkley and thinking that he's rather well built for a young man.
22 (15) - Ashley Young
Clinging on by his fingertips. The first thing he did against Ukraine was the wrong thing at the wrong time and it was executed badly. It didn't get any better.
23 (31) - Andy Carroll
There's a place for one more striker and it's probably a straight fight between Carroll and Rickie Lambert. F*** that would be a dirty, bloody fight.
24 (47) - Rickie Lambert
Hodgson is trying to downplay the 'fairytale' aspect of the Lambert story by suggesting he could have a role to play at the World Cup. But we suspect he will only get that role if Carroll is too injured/p***ed to turn up for rehearsals.
25 (26) - Kyle Walker
A defender who cannot defend. Please let Glen Johnson be fit. Honestly, we'd do the whole prayer mat thing.
26 (18) - Joleon Lescott
There's a massive shortage of England centre-backs and he's fifth choice with two players who almost never play centre-back in front of him. It's not going well.
27 (19) - Jermain Defoe
'Is this a game for Jermain Defoe?' asked Clive Tyldesley on Tuesday night. 'Is this game against Aldershot in the cup?' replied a nation.
28 (23) - Fraser Forster
England's No. 4, England's England's No. 4.
29 (NE) - Ross Barkley
He's English, he's started three Premier League games this season and he looks pretty sodding good. That's a pretty exclusive club you're in there, fella.
30 (29) - Steven Caulker
Literally the only man to ever join Cardiff to enhance his chances of reaching a World Cup.
31 (36) - Jordan Henderson
Hodgson took him to Ukraine last summer. And we don't mean on a bizarre camping trip. He's an English player in a side currently top of the Premier League so he must be a vaguely serious contender. We're losing the will about now.
32 (32) - Aaron Lennon
It's really sodding difficult to know where Lennon ranks because he's never fit for more than three or four minutes. Or indeed good for more than three or four minutes.
33 (33) - Jack Butland
That move to Stoke was supposed to make playing for England easier. Oops.
34 (34) - Wilfried Zaha
Will Moyes be brave enough to make him an option for United, which will immediately make him an option for England? We all know the answer to that question.
35 (37) - Gareth Barry
That move to Everton keeps the door slightly ajar. He may move through it slowly.
36 (28) - Leon Osman
That was fun, right?
37 (25) - Michael Dawson
Featured in an WhoScored XI of England players who have been in form in 2013. Presumably Hodgson didn't log on to Football365 that day.
38 (44) - Raheem Sterling
Sterling did not feature in the above WhoScored XI. Hodgson definitely didn't log on to Football365 that day.
39 (38) - Jonjo Shelvey
Half a chance now he's at Swansea.
40 (32) - Kieran Gibbs
Third-best left-back. Woo-hoo.
41 (30) - Scott Parker
42 (NE) - Andros Townsend
43 (35) - Stewart Downing
44 (NE) - Fabian Delph
45 (42) - Adam Johnson
46 (40) - Jack Rodwell
47 (41) - Carl Jenkinson
48 (RE) - Tom Huddlestone
49 (NE) - Nathan Redmond
50 (50) - Phil Neville