Former Everton and West Ham flop Enner Valencia, who was once chased by police and nicknamed ‘Superman’, is set to feature in the World Cup opener against Qatar

Enner Valencia is a player West Ham and Everton fans should remember, although the memories aren’t particularly good.

The striker spent three seasons in the Premier League and is now set to feature in the World Cup opener as Qatar take on Ecuador.

Valencia is one of Ecuador’s star players

The 33-year-old has had an interesting life and career leading to this moment and the chance to start his country’s campaign on the right foot.

Valencia was born in San Lorenzo, Ecuador. His family was poor, so he helped them earn money to feed his siblings by selling milk on the street.

He used a ball of rags as a soccer ball as he trained every day to improve and develop as a player.

He said: “I was always with a ball, or with a bottle, or with whatever we came across, always trying to get a game going.

“Many times I left school to play. I told my parents I was going to school but I never got there. I went to play football. I always been passionate about this game.”

The striker quickly rose through the ranks and was snapped up by CS Emelec.

Here, the former Everton loanee made over 100 appearances and caught the eye of CF Pachuca in Mexico.

As he made his way with Emelec and Pachuca, the national team liked what they saw and called him out.

Enner Valencia (West Ham)

Valencia had two seasons with West Ham and a loan spell with Everton before returning to Mexico

He made his international debut in 2012 and played a starring role in the 2014 World Cup.

Valencia impressed with their fast pace and deadly finish as they scored three goals in three group games but it wasn’t enough as the South American side crashed out.

But the world had watched him play and West Ham acted by signing the striker for just under £15million.

The Hammers have had a strong start to the season and Valencia have scored three Premier League goals in their opening nine league games, also providing three assists.

It really looked like West Ham had stumbled upon a bargain, with Chelsea linked with a move, as the player enjoyed his time in east London.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, he said: “It’s a lot easier here compared to Mexico. If you go out in London, people know you and ask you for a picture, but always politely.

“But in South America, in Mexico, no! They all crowd around and it’s photo after photo. The culture is completely different.

Valencia is Ecuador's top scorer with 35 goals

Valencia is Ecuador’s top scorer with 35 goals

Valencia had enjoyed a rapid rise from the Ecuadorian league to the Premier League.

Perhaps it was all a bit too fast as West Ham’s form declined in the second half of the campaign, as did Valencia’s as they only scored one more league goal after November.

But despite things not working out at club level, everyone at home loved Valencia, and he became known as ‘Superman’ for his heroics with the national side.

He remained with West Ham for the 2015/16 campaign, but injuries limited his impact. He joined Everton on loan the following year.

He has spent most of this season as a substitute and scored three goals in the 2016/17 campaign.

6. Enner Valencia (Everton, left): 1 day, 12 hours and 55 minutes on the bench

Valencia haven’t had much playing time at Goodison Park

While on loan at Everton, police chased the forward in his native Ecuador.

There were reports suggesting Valencia weren’t helping with child support money and owed their ex-partner £13,500.

In Ecuador’s 3-0 win over El Salvador, the striker was substituted and taken away by medical staff, with police chasing him.

An arrest warrant was even issued against the attacker after his ex-wife launched several legal challenges against the attacker.

After issuing a statement proving his innocence, the charges were dropped, but it still must have had an impact on the player, and he left England for good that summer.

He returned to Mexico to play for Tigres, where he spent three years before joining Fenerbahce.

And it is here that Valencia found that scoring touch.

In 90 appearances, he scored 41 goals, including 15 this season.

He heads to Qatar in good shape and is ready to help his country through his group.

Valencia may not have lived up to his initial potential, but at 33, he’s ready to be his country’s hero once again.

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