When the name Ben Marshall is mentioned, that wand of a right foot surely comes to mind..
It’s hard to believe that the former Manchester United youngster is almost 30, and hasn’t yet reached 50 professional goals.
Having signed his first professional contract with Stoke as a teenager, although he never appeared for the Potters, Marshall end up not far from Old Trafford a number of years later – signing permanently for Blackburn Rovers ahead of the 2012-13 campaign.
Marshall quickly established himself as a regular at Ewood Park, although an ankle injury saw the attacker’s first season ended prematurely in January, and he wouldn’t feature again until August.
The majority of his 15 goals as a Rovers player were spectacular, including notable strikes against Nottingham Forest, Ipswich and an exquisite brace of stunners in a victory over Wigan – which caught the attention of a host of Championship clubs.
In his prime, Marshall appeared destined to become a Premier League player, but where did his career take him following his Blackburn exit in January 2017?
The simple answer is Molineux.
In January 2017, Marshall was snapped by Wolves, who were slowly on their destination to reach the topflight, although the winger never appeared likely to be on that journey.
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Despite making 16 appearances during his first campaign in the Midlands, he clearly wasn’t in new manager, Nuno Espirito Santo’s plans. His was restricted to mainly substitute cameos and cup games, although did start a memorable League Cup penalty shoot-out win over Man City.
January came around, and Marshall was on the move again. This time, a temporary loan spell with Millwall, where he’d end up producing some of the most impressive football of his career as Neil Harris’ Lions side, against all odds, almost secured an unlikely play-off place.
Despite having been continuously linked with a permanent return to The Den that summer, Marshall opted for Norwich City, but a handful of appearances later and just like 12 months earlier, he was back in South London with Millwall.
However, it was nothing like the previous season – with both the team and Marshall struggling, and a penalty at Leeds, followed by memorable celebration in front of the Elland Road crowd, aside, it was nothing short of disastrous.
He wouldn’t return to Norwich, because his contract was ripped up and terminated by the Carrow Road outfit.
And I’m not sure anyone could have envisaged what was next in store for Marshall. Having been unattached for a few months, he joined West Lancashire Division One side Stoneclough, with the Non League outfit officially announcing the deal back in January on their Twitter page.
It remains unclear if Marshall has ever actually featured for Stoneclough, or whether it was just a publicity stunt, but the former Championship man, at just 29-years-old, hasn’t yet returned to the professional game.
Stoneclough FC are pleased to announce the biggest signing of their history … Free agent Ben Marshall signs on and the club are delighted to add him to their squad for their promotion push to the West Lancs Prem !
— Stoneclough FC (@stonecloughfc1) January 19, 2020