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Player spent a year on trial with Chelsea because he 'just kept turning up and they didn't say anything'

Player spent a year on trial with Chelsea because he 'just kept turning up and they didn't say anything'

The former Premier League striker said he "just kept turning up" and eventually, Chelsea decided to sign him.

A former Premier League striker claims to have signed for Chelsea after he spent a year on trial at the club.

Leroy Lita, who kickstarted his career at Bristol City and Reading in the mid 00's before enjoying spells at Middlesbrough, Swansea, Barnsley and Brighton & Hove Albion, is currently playing for seventh tier side Nuneaton Borough.

But before making his professional debut for then-League One side Bristol City at the start of the 2002/03 campaign, he spent several years in the Chelsea youth system.

Here, the Congo-born striker progressed through the ranks after being scouted playing for Margate.

Speaking on the Under the Cosh podcast, Lita opened up about his journey.

"I was playing for Margate and we were playing Tonbridge Angels," he said. "They were under 14s, but I was under 13 playing. And I scored three and set up three and there was a Chelsea scout there and a Charlton scout.

"When they're allowed to talk to you straight after, they both come over and said we'd like to take a look, both of them said that. I'm a Chelsea fan so, I went to Chelsea and was there for a year. At Chelsea, as a trialist.

"I just kept turning up. Just kept turning up. They didn't say nothing to me. They didn't say don't come. I just kept turning up. Every session I was there. Then eventually, they signed me. There was schoolboy forms and I got all the way up to scholar and under 15s, under 16s, so year 10, year 11 at school."

Image credit: Getty
Image credit: Getty

Lita added: "I was having two days off school a week to go in and train with the first team and reserves. I was thinking this is brilliant. They'd pick you up after school and take you to digs, at training you'd see all the first team stars and training with them. One of the days you'd train with everyone and then the rest you'd train with the youth team.

"I was thinking this is brilliant, I was thinking I've got a chance and then got to 16s, and just one Thursday after training, Ted Dale, the academy manager at the time, pulled me into the little office in the training ground and said 'yeah, we're not taking you on, the reason are you're a bit too little' blah, blah.

"Now looking back, Leon Knight and Carlton Cole were ahead of me. I was thinking, I'm too short? But one of my best attributes is in the air. And f***ing Leon Knight? He's smaller than me!"

Image credit: Getty
Image credit: Getty

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Featured Image Credit: Getty Images

Topics: Chelsea, Premier League, Reading, Brighton And Hove Albion, Bristol City