Non-league path’s helped Pompey new boy 

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A non-league education has allowed England's World Cup heroes to reach the top.

Now Louis Dennis is out to underline how a grounding outside the Football League can prepare you to be a pro success.

Pompey new-boy Louis Dennis. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey new-boy Louis Dennis. Picture: Joe Pepler

The prospect of games out of the the top four divisions would be dismissed by many young players in academy systems at top clubs.

But the likes of Jordan Pickford, Jamie Vardy and Nick Pope are peeling away the snobbery attached to such loan moves.

All three have operated in the non-league game and have gone on be part of the England squad which made the World Cup semi-finals.

A few months ago, Louis Dennis was operating in the fifth tier with Bromley, after dropping out of the pro game when leaving Dagenham & Redbridge.

But Pompey's summer arrival has no doubt about the benefits a non-league grounding offered him.

Dennis said: 'Part of the reason you play the game is to get as high as you can.

'Now I want step back up and learn from my trade.

'I'm glad I was able to have the season I had last season and bounce back.

'My first pro contract was at Dagenham. Maybe I just wasn't ready then, but I'm ready now.

'We are in an era now where there are a lot of players coming through the non-league game.

'A lot of players are coming through non-league football.

'You're playing men's football and not getting everything done for you. You have to learn to deal with everything and that can turn you into a man.

'When you bring that back into the Football League it gives you a bit more ammunition to succeed.'

Dennis also highlighted the level of non-league football is higher than many anticipate, with the National League now playing host to a number of pro clubs.

He added: 'Personally, I think going out in non-league and playing is the best thing you can do as a young player.

'You're not pushing for the first team so there's nothing better than playing games and learning.

'When you play you have to get that three points. It's not about development.

'Sometimes you have to develop in a real environment.

'Non-league football gives you the platform to do that.

'There are experienced players in the National League.

'There are good pros who have maybe had a good league career and are dropping down. They know how to defend and they know how to use their bodies. It can teach young players a lot.'