England beware: Albania’s hot-shot from Slough! Southampton striker Armando Broja was born in Berkshire and nurtured by Chelsea with an athletic build and the ability to finish with either foot
- England face Albania in a must-win World Cup qualifier on Friday night
- They will come up against Armando Broja, an Albanian star born in Berkshire
- Broja is tall athletic, and can score with either foot and England should be wary
Albania, with 15 points from eight games, are enjoying their best ever World Cup qualification campaign and their progress has been aided by the emergence of a young striker born in Slough and nurtured in Chelsea’s academy.
Armando Broja turned 20 in September. He was born in Berkshire to Albanian parents just five days after Sven Goran Eriksson’s England beat Albania 2-0 in a World Cup qualifier in Newcastle, with goals by Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen.
Armando Broja – born in Berkshire – will be the dangerman for England against Albania
TELL ME MORE…
Broja has been cajoled into life on loan at Southampton this season with two goals in his last three appearances. ‘He’s a bit of a slow starter,’ said Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl. ‘You need to push him a little. The first two weeks I was looking for what he has to give and I didn’t see a lot, to be honest.
‘So I had some very serious conversations with him to tell him what I want to see and now he’s moving in that direction. It’s impressive how quick he learns and wants to do better. He gives us qualities we didn’t have.’
The striker has scored twice since being loaned to Southampton from Chelsea this season
WHAT’S HIS STYLE?
At 6ft 3in, Broja is tall, athletic, with a change of pace and willingness to run in behind defences. He has an eye for goal and the ability to finish with either foot or his head. Ronaldo is his idol.
As soon as his father Xhevahir introduced him to online clips, he began to try to model his own game on the Brazilian. ‘He was strong, fast, two-footed, he had everything,’ said Broja. ‘That’s who I aspire to be like.’
Already this season, he has seven goals in 13 appearances for club and country – including the only goal in each of Albania’s two qualifiers against Hungary.
He is tall, athletic and can score with either feet – modelling his game on Brazilian Ronaldo
HOW DID CHELSEA FIND HIM?
He started out playing for Burnham Juniors in Berkshire. There was interest from Reading and Fulham but Broja played for two seasons with Tottenham before impressing in games for their Under 9s against Chelsea.
As a Chelsea supporter, he eagerly agreed to a switch and developed as he moved through the age groups. Frank Lampard handed him a senior debut as a late sub for Olivier Giroud in a 4-0 win over Everton, days before the first lockdown in March 2020.
A SEASON IN HOLLAND…
Last season was spent on loan at Vitesse Arnhem, where he helped them finish fourth to qualify for Europe. They also reached the Dutch Cup final and his header clinched victory in the semi-final against VVV-Venlo.
Broja ended his year in Dutch football with 11 goals, then returned to Chelsea where he scored three in pre-season.
He signed a new five-year deal at Stamford Bridge in July, before heading to St Mary’s on loan.
Broja fired in 11 goals on loan at Vitesse last season to help them qualiy for Europe