I was part of the England U21's 1984 Euros-winning squad who became a DJ in Corfu and survived bowel and liver cancer | The Sun

ENGLAND ended their 39-year wait for an Under-21 European Championship with victory over Spain on Saturday.

The Young Lions had not tasted Euros glory since 1984 before Curtis Jones' goal and James Trafford's dramatic late penalty saw Lee Carsley's men triumph in Georgia.

One player from that 1984 side was winger Nigel Callaghan – who played for Watford, Derby County and Aston Villa.

As well as tasting glory in the U21s, he was a losing FA Cup finalist in 1985 as the Hornets came up short against Everton.

But he retired from football before he turned 30 in an attempt to pursue a DJ career in Corfu.

Speaking to The Guardian in 2019 about his two very different careers, he said: "I’ve never had another job. I’ve never sat in an office, done 9-5. I finished my football career early but I didn’t do bad.


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"I played in an England Under-21 final, played in an FA Cup final, came second in the top league. There were a lot of great moments.

"I’ve done a lot of things in my short career that a lot of players haven’t done, so I’d never complain about what I had. And I’ve done all right out of DJing, to be fair.

"I’ve stayed in the entertainment business. There’s no way DJing can even come near scoring a winning goal or playing in front of 100,000 people but I’ve made a good life out of it. I think I’ve been quite lucky."

Callaghan has also battled cancer since hanging up his boots.

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He was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2009 following a routine blood test – which he did as a result of suffering with arthritis.

An operation failed to remove the tumour, before six months of chemotherapy resulted in doctors discovering the disease had spread to his liver.

Nearly 70 per cent of his liver was removed and since then all tests have been clear.

He said: "Do you know the worst part about cancer? And I’m pretty sure anyone who’s had it and survived will tell you. It’s not the scars and the stitches, it’s not the operations, it’s the mental scar it leaves.

"Because even when you’re clear, you’re still thinking: ‘What if it comes back?’"

Callaghan went on to add: "When I first went for my six-month checkup, I walked out eight times. I couldn’t do it, because I didn’t know if I had that gun with a bullet in it.

"I’m not the same person I was before I had the cancer. I don’t want sympathy from anyone, I just get on with my life and try to have a good time.

“I’ve been clear for more than five years now so I don’t have to go back for tests. I’m not sure I’d want to know if it came back, to be honest. I’m not sure I’d want to go through all that again. I’m a firm believer in ‘when your time’s up, your time’s up’. If I was meant to die I’d have died on that operating table.

"People tell me: ‘You shouldn’t do this, you shouldn’t do that. You drink too much, you’re having too much salt.’ Do you change your life completely so you’re not enjoying anything you do, or do you think: ‘I’m going to enjoy myself’. You can’t cut everything out of your life."

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