Samir Carruthers looked destined for a career at the top when he captained Aston Villa‘s academy side to Next Gen Series glory in 2013.
However, nearly ten years on and the midfielder is plying his trade with Dartford in the National League South, the sixth tier of English football.
The Irish midfielder joined the club from Arsenal in 2009 and helped the U19 side win the prestigious European competition, regularly training with the first team before Paul Lambert’s arrival in 2012, after which he was left to play in the reserves.
In the end, Carruthers would make just three substitute appearances for Villa in the 2010/11 Premier League season, before he joined MK Dons for an undisclosed fee in 2014, having spent the previous season on loan.
He would spend the majority of his professional career with the Dons, making 137 appearances, in which he contributed six goals and 24 assists.
Are you surprised Carruthers has fallen so far?
Carruthers looked set for a decent career in the Championship but things started to go downhill in March 2016, as the midfielder was filmed urinating into a glass and pouring its contents over a balcony at Cheltenham Festival, with Cheltenhamshire police describing the incident as “a disgusting and thoughtless act.”
Carruthers was fined and suspended by the club, despite manager Karl Robinson describing him as a “top player” who he expected to return to the Premier League.
After that, the Irishman would have brief spells at Sheffield United, Oxford United and Cambridge United before eventually dropping into non-league after failing to find a club for the entirety of the 2020/21 season.
Carruthers failed to score or assist in 20 appearances for Hemel Hempstead in the sixth tier and was released at the end of the season. He has started much more impressively with new side Dartford, contributing four goals and one assist in the opening nine games of the season.
It has been a dramatic fall from grace for Carruthers after breaking into Villa’s first team so young, and you feel that his reckless decision in 2016 went a long way towards ruining his career in the professional leagues.