Growing up in London, Warburton attended The Latymer School, Edmonton. A defender, Warburton began his playing career as an apprentice at Leicester City under Frank McLintock and later dropped into Non-League football with Enfield. Warburton took a dislike to the methods of McLintock's successor at Leicester, Jock Wallace, later saying "he was a Marine. We had runs on sand-dunes, running until we threw up. I learned a lot from that, never treating a player that way". Warburton had a successful four years at Enfield, winning the 1981â82 FA Trophy and the 1982â83 Alliance Premier League title. He battled for the right back spot at the club with Trevor Savage and scored his only league goal for the club past Boston United goalkeeper Kevin Blackwell in a 2â0 win during the 1982â83 season. After leaving Enfield in 1985, Warburton later played for Isthmian League side Boreham Wood and also spent time playing in Charlotte and Chicago men's leagues while living in the United States. Cruciate injuries ended his playing career.