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A path less traveled led to an adventure of a lifetime for James Younghusband

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James Younghusband: My career turned out better than expected (1:45)

James Younghusband grew up in England, but ended his career half a world away and ignited a nation's interest in football. (1:45)

As a teenager on the books of English Premier League giants Chelsea, the dream for James Younghusband would not have been too different from countless youth growing up in England.

Perhaps it would have started off with a Stamford Bridge bow in a cup competition followed by a Premier League debut shortly after. Had things really gone according to the original plan, perhaps lifting silverware alongside John Terry and international recognition with England would have followed.

- James Younghusband sees a bright future for the Philippine Azkals

Life does not always turn out as expected as Younghusband found out when he was released by Chelsea and eventually made his way to Philippines -- his mother's country of birth. In Southeast Asia he embarked on a different adventure which ended up with him becoming one half of a duo, with younger brother Phil, the ignited an entire country's interest in the sport.

"I'd probably say this possibly turned out an even better dream," he told ESPN after recently retiring from football at the age of 33. "When you're a young kid, you just know the football that you're exposed to and we weren't aware there was a Philippines national team.

"Then, finally coming over here to play came with it the highs and the lows amidst the historic achievements. I'm really proud and I don't think it could have gone any better with the journey I've had with the national team and local football."

A talented individual in his own right, it is difficult to think of one Younghusband brother without the other given how close their careers have been intertwined.

"Our football journey was something we did together as a family, including my Mum, Dad and sister," he explained. "With the highs and lows, [Phil and I] have experienced them together. That's what makes it so great."

But James does not mind being mentioned in the same breath as Phil, with the two of them the only Azkals to have reached 100 international appearances in Philippine football history.

"It just teaches you as well it's never perfect, it's not going to be exactly the way you want to turn out but you've just got to keep going."