From Southern League reject to battling Lionel Messi: the meteoric rise of Bournemouth's ex-Portsmouth, Swansea City and Wigan Athetic man continues

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Seven years ago he was deemed surplus to requirements in the seventh tier of English football.

Now former Pompey favourite Jamal Lowe is a Premier League footballer, sharing the pitch on the international stage with Lionel Messi.

That’s the meteoric rise for the winger, whose story is the archetypal Roy of the Rovers tale of a journey from obscurity to the big time.

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Lowe was pinching himself as he took on Argentina and Messi in the early hours of this morning, while on international duty with Jamaica.

The 28-year-old was introduced late on in New Jersey, as arguably the game’s greatest player marked his 100th international win with two goals in his team’s 3-0 success.

It’s another huge landmark for the man Paul Cook who plucked from the National League South, to bring him into the pro ranks at the start of 2017.

That came after Lowe had helped Hampton & Richmond to win the Isthmian League Premier Division, with his goals garnering attention from a higher level as they continued to flow.

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The former PE teacher earlier had spells with St Albans in the Southern League Premier Division and Hemel Hempstead which didn’t work out in 2015.

Jamal Lowe and Lionel Messi. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)Jamal Lowe and Lionel Messi. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Jamal Lowe and Lionel Messi. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

His dedication was soon rewarded however as Lowe, of course, took centre stage as Cook’s side went on to win League Two.

It was the Londoner who grabbed a crucial double as promotion was memorably secured at Notts County, with a goal following as the title was delivered on the final day against Cheltenham.

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A spell in the Championship with Swansea followed before he moved to Dean Court last year.

The ascent to Premier League footballer was complete with an outing off the bench at Manchester City in August, although that’s been Lowe’s only top-flight minutes so far this season.

Now though, he’s hit another massive landmark as he faced off against a player many regard as the greatest of all time.

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