Forced to quit the game at 30, Ryan France fell back on his maths degree and carved out a career in finance – mainly thanks to his transferable skills as a footballer…
Tell us about how your playing career came to an end…
You can go back to 2007 when I ruptured my cruciate knee ligament playing for Hull. It was a very difficult period but I stayed positive with my rehab, came back and played in the Premier League. I got back to full fitness, full strength but I don’t think my knee was ever 100% after that. I signed for Sheffield United and was involved nine or 10 times but after a couple more operations and months of not being involved, two surgeons said I should call it a day if I wanted to walk in later life. With two young children to consider, I had to stop playing in 2011.
How did you get started in football?
I was released by Sheffield Wednesday at 16. At the time I was really small and Wednesday didn’t see me in their plans so I decided to get my studies and went to college – I’d always been quite academic through school. Then Alfreton Town came in when I was 18 and playing in a five-a-side tournament. The manager asked me to train with them. That was the start of it and getting a bit of men’s football really helped my game.
And then the bigger clubs came knocking?
Two years into my three-year university course I had a trial at Coventry City under Gary McAllister. He really liked me and offered me a two-year contract, which blew me away. 99 out of 100 people would have gone to Coventry – and who knows what would have happened with my career then. But I couldn’t know how my career would go after that contract had finished and I didn’t want to start my degree again.
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