Dan Burn thought he had no chance of making it when he was pushing trolleys in a supermarket.

Now he is pushing for a place with Albion in the Premier League.

That seemed an impossible dream as a teenager when Burn was playing for home town team Blyth Spartans Juniors in his native north-east, studying for a sports diploma at sixth-form college and working at Asda for pocket money.

Burn said: "Normally the lads who are getting picked up to play in the youth teams are getting picked up around 15, 16. I didn't end up signing for anyone.

"I went to sixth form and went and did a little bit of work. I was working at Asda pushing trolleys.

"If you had said then that I would be in the Premier League, I would have laughed at you.

"It was a little bit more of a different route for me but it helped me become even more determined and focused.

"When I went to Fulham, a lot of the stuff the lads were given, I wasn't given at Darlington. I was washing my own kit and bringing in my own packed lunches. So I do think it's helped me."

The Argus: Burn's humble beginning (above) has spurred him on during his rise through the ranks with Darlington in the Conference and League Two, Yeovil and Wigan in League One, Birmingham, Wigan and Fulham in the Championship, and Fulham and Albion in the Premier League.

The humdrum life that might have been has turned into a 250th career start for the towering central defender against Derby at the Amex in the fifth round of the FA Cup.

What did Burn, 26, learn from his spell in the supermarket aisles?

He joked: "Just that I didn’t want to do that for the rest of my life, I think!

"It was good at the time because I was earning the money to do want I wanted to do at the weekends and stuff.

"But I always knew in the long term that I didn’t want to be there and I wouldn’t be there in future. It helped me be more determined and more focused when I had the down times in football.

"I knew then it could be worse, I could be back at Asda doing that every day so I do think it helped us.

"I think you see a lot of stories like that now, lads who have come through and who have played in the Conference. I think Aden Flint was a road surfacer. And Jamie Vardy came right the way through too.

"There’s a lot more talent in those sort of leagues that goes unnoticed. We bring in a lot of players from different countries these days but I do think there's a lot of players in those divisions who can play a lot higher."

The chances of Newcastle fan Burn ever playing at the top level looked bleak even when he got his break at Darlington, signing for them as a 17-year-old.

The Argus: "I remember I made my debut against Torquay away (above) in League Two and we got beat 5-1," he told The Argus. "Everyone was absolutely gutted but I was just so excited to be out there, got in the car on the way home and was cheering on as if I'd won the game and we'd just been battered 5-1.

"I think if I was in the car now and you'd told me that, played in all the divisions and the cups and I was at a Premier League team I probably would have laughed at you.

"I don't think you should look back on it too much or you start thinking 'Wow, I've come a long way.' I've still got a long way to go.I want to be a Premier League player.

"I'm around three international centre-halves so I've got my work cut out but I'm determined and if anything if all I give is competition then that's what I've got to do."

Burn, (below right) signed in the summer and loaned back to Wigan until January to recover from injury and play games, helped his cause with strong performances on his Albion debut in the FA Cup fourth round draw at home to West Brom and replay win after-extra-time.

The Argus: Blyth, his birthplace on the Northumberland coast, has FA Cup history. Alan Shoulder famously fired non-League Spartans through to the fifth round in 1977.

Burn was part of the Wigan team that shocked Manchester City at this stage last year.

He was at Wembley for the 2000 semi-final as a Newcastle supporter and scored there in Yeovil's League One play-off final victory over Brentford (below left), but he is wary of Derby. "Through the divisions it's different," Burn said.

The Argus: "A lot of Premier League teams now will play second-string players. But in the lower divisions all the way to the Conference it’s a chance for them to showcase themselves against the best players in the country and show managers they can play well at that level.

"I'm sure there's a number of players who have played well in the FA Cup and got moves off the back of it. I'm pretty sure Derby will be coming here to do that."