Jarrod Bowen: From Non-League to England

Released May 31, 2022 9 minutes read

England

Jarrod Bowen talks about what it means to go from playing the Football Conference with Hereford United to making his first call-up for England

“Sometimes I sit back and look at where I’m coming from, especially now that I’m in the English camp, and without sounding big-headed I have to take my hat off of where I’m coming from to get to where I’m at now.”

When Jarrod Bowen was a 17-year-old playing for his local club Hereford United at what was then the Football Conference, he thought the thought of being called up for England seemed miles away.

But this week the striker’s stellar performances for West Ham United have seen Bowen follow in the footsteps of the likes of Jamie Vardy and Tyrone Mings as he made the switch from non-league football to a spell in England.

Asked if the possibility of playing for England had crossed his mind during his time at Hereford United, Bowen admitted: “It seemed like a million miles away. At the time I was playing conference football for my local team and that was it.

“Obviously you have dreams, but you don’t expect a kid from Hereford to move to Hull City [in the Premier League] Primarily just me playing week in and week out for my local team in the conference.

“Sometimes I sit back and look at where I’m coming from, especially now that I’m in the English camp and without sounding big-headed I have to take my hat off on where I’m from to get to where I am now .”


Jarrod Bowen was among England players training ahead of Nations League games at St George's Park this week
Jarrod Bowen was among England players training ahead of Nations League games at St George’s Park this week

Bowen had trials at Aston Villa as a ten-year-old and Cardiff City six years later, but both were to prove unsuccessful, meaning his breakthrough into senior football was to come with his local side Hereford United.

Peter Beadle would prove to be a hugely influential figure in Bowen’s career as he gave the youngster his first scholarship deal in 2013 and when the former Bristol Rovers striker was promoted to senior team manager one of the first things he did recently was a Transfer made the 17-year-old Bowen a part of the first-team squad.

The teenager played a key role in keeping Hereford United in the Football Conference but with the club on the road to dissolution Bowen was allowed to leave the Bulls on a free transfer in the summer of 2014 after being unpaid for several months.

West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers were among the sides keen to sign the 17-year-old but once again Beadle was set to play a key role, citing one of his former players Tony Pennock, who was first-team manager at Hull City, and Bowen was on his way to the Premier League.

Bowen’s record 54 goals in 131 games for Hull City earned him a move back to the Premier League when West Ham United paid a reported fee of more than £20m and the striker’s remarkable rise continued under David Moyes.







May 31, 2022
11:04

Arrivals | Bowen joins the England squad


The Three Lions players are back at St. George’s Park


Bowen said: “When I was 17 and playing for Hereford, you looked at Jamie Vardy and Tyrone Mings and those types of players who hadn’t gone through the academy and were playing in the top leagues and for their country.

“You don’t really think about it [an England call-up] In that sense, you just play your football and if you’re good enough and have that work ethic, then it’s going to take you far.”

And for Bowen, it was that outstanding work and talent that led him to an assignment in England.

England boss Gareth Southgate has admitted it would have come sooner had it not been for an injury, and while the comments in March were “a kick in the teeth” for Bowen, there was also motivation to get back to his best form.

Bowen stated he didn’t want to just come and go; He is determined to secure a place in the Southgate squad in the coming months as we prepare for this year’s World Cup. And while he respects it’s his first Three Lions camp, he stressed the importance of recognizing that he’s there on merit.

“It’s everything you dream of growing up, and of course to receive the call is an honor and a privilege,” Bowen said.

And when asked about this year’s World Cup, he said: “I would be lying if I said I didn’t dream of it. Everyone dreams of playing for their country one day. So my dream is to play in the best tournament.

“It’s my first camp and I have to come in and show the manager and the coaches what I’m all about.”


Jarrod Bowen has joined his West Ham United team-mate Declan Rice in the England squad
Jarrod Bowen has joined his West Ham United team-mate Declan Rice in the England squad

He continued: “Everyone has a dream but England is a different level to reach and I’ve done enough over the last two seasons to put my name in the fight for a call-up and I’m delighted about that.”

With thousands of footballers playing in the National League or higher, what made Bowen make the move from Hereford United to a potential England debut?

“I think with my appetite I want it more than anyone,” he said. “I think that was the message throughout my journey, starting at the age of 16.

“That hunger for the game, that love of the game and that work ethic. Talent will get you so far, but hard work will get you further.”

Following in the footsteps of the likes of Vardy, Mings and the likes of Ian Wright before them in moving from non-league to England international, Bowen will be an inspiration to those plying their trade further down the football pyramid, and he had some helpful advice for those who hope the same.

He said: “You don’t get many chances in the minor leagues but once you get that chance it’s about taking it and showing you’re ready.”

Bowen will be hoping to do just that again when he heads to the training grounds at St George’s Park this week.

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