Cash scored his first Premier League goal in September and in November was called up to the Poland national squad for the first time after switching allegiances
Matty Cash is on the brink of playing right-back for Poland – a country where he wasn’t born and a position he once didn’t want to play.
But unexpected turns are a common theme for a player who went from selling toys in Windsor to rising from League Two to the Premier League.
Now a regular for Aston Villa, he is in the Poland squad for Friday’s World Cup qualifier against Andorra,
Yet at 16, he was without a club after being released by Wycombe.
“He was lost,” his dad Stuart Cash told BBC Sport.
“My wife and I sent him to work at Daniel Department Store, we wanted him to experience that real working life and it was fantastic for him. It gave him a sense of life without football, having come so close.
“I remember sitting down with him and saying ‘look, if you want to go and work in Daniel’s or get a job elsewhere, me and your mum will support you, but you’ve got too much talent on a football pitch to do that’.
“From there he knew what he had to do. That job gave him the motivation to say ‘I don’t want to do this, I want to become a footballer’.”
‘I made them do laps around a two-acre green’
Slough-born Cash – eligible to play for Poland through his mother Barbara – was awarded citizenship in October, before receiving his first call-up in November. He will now link up with Bayern Munich’s prolific forward Robert Lewandowski, Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and Leeds United midfielder Mateusz Klich.
With Stuart a former Chesterfield full-back, elder brother Adam a semi-professional with Northwood FC in non-league and a sister on a golf scholarship in America, sport is very much in the Cash blood.
“I’ve always told him the truth, good or bad,” Stuart added.
“When he was younger, if I thought he or his brother hadn’t put enough effort into their football game that weekend I used to bring them home, get my stopwatch out and make them do laps around a two-acre green near our house.
“I used to say to them ‘every time me and your mum have to sacrifice our weekends and you don’t put effort in, this is what you’ll…