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Leroy Lita

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Norwich Career: 2008 (16 appearances, 7 goals) (on loan from Reading)
Current Club: Coalville Town (Southern League)
Date of Birth: 28/12/1984 (Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Nationality: English


Former England Under-21 international striker Leroy Lita joined Norwich on a one month loan from Reading on 1st October 2008

A Chelsea youth team product, Leroy came to attention at Bristol City in the 2003/4 season. He scored 31 goals in 85 appearances for the Robins before Reading paid £1m on 13th July 2005 to take him to the Madjeski Stadium.

Lita's 2005-06 season ended early after a broken ankle, but Reading still won promotion to the Premier League that season.

Despite a promising start to life in the Premiership, in which he netted the winner against Middlesbrough on the opening day, Lita endured a barren run and lost his place in the Reading first team

In March 2008, he was loaned to Charlton Athletic for whom he made 8 appearances, scoring 3 goals.

Glenn Roeder told the club's official website: "I can't tell you how pleased I am to be able to secure the loan signing of Leroy Lita from Reading. He has a fantastic goalscoring record in the Premier League and the Championship and he is someone that I believe will take the chances that we have been creating but not converting."

Reading manager Steve Coppell said: "With a lot of strikers here competing for two places, this loan move is the best thing for Leroy at the moment. Reserve team football is not regular or a good enough standard, and he wants to play every week so it's a great opportunity for him to do that at a very competitive level and hopefully score some goals."

Lita scored a hat-trick for Norwich on 21st October 2008 in the 5-2 win over league leaders Wolves, and then scored the match winner in the 2-1 win over Doncaster on 25th October 2008. Inevitably, Lita's hat-trick alerted other clubs to his capabilities, with Queens Park Rangers and West Bromwich Albion reported to be keen to recruit him. Roeder argued: “It's a better problem to have than him not scoring and playing rubbish - then none of us want him. What can you do? He was brought here to score goals. He was a little bit rusty in his first game, which was understandable. He did better in the second game against Bristol City when he had a couple of chances which unfortunately never went in, and then in the third game on Tuesday night, we saw the real Leroy Lita and what he is all about.

Lita extended his loan by an extra month on 3rd November 2008 and scored his fifth goal for the Canaries in the 2-2 draw with Preston on 8th November 2008. He later added another month, returning to Reading at the end of December 2008. He finished with 16 appearances for Norwich and 7 goals. Leroy played in Reading's FA Cup Third round defeat at Cardiff on 3rd January 2009. He has been linked with Everton, Newcastle, Wolves and Ipswich

Following Sheffield United's sale of James Beattie to Stoke for £3.5m on 12th January 2009, the Blades made a bid for Lita but it was rejected by the player who indicated he wanted to stay at Reading.

Lita parted company with Reading at the end of the 2008/9 season and was linked with a move to Bristol City. In June 2009, QPR, Middlesborough, Crystal Palace, QPR and Notts Forest were all linked with Lita. Despite interest from Sheffield United, Lita finally signed for Middlesbrough on 3rd August 2009 signing a three year deal

Media speculation at the end of April 2010 suggested that Boro manager Gordon Strachan would release Grounds at the end of the 2009/10 season. Instead he stayed at Boro and had a mediocre season scoring 11 goals. But one of these was the opener in Boro's 3-0 win at Cardiff on 2nd May 2011 which combined with Norwich's 1-0 win over Portsmouth on the same day, secured Norwich's promotion to the Premiership.

Lita was signed by Premiership newboys Swansea for £1.75m on 3rd August 2011."Leroy is a proven goalscorer. It would be a fantastic deal for this club," said Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers. "Our supporters would love him because he is a player that is loved by the supporters of every team he plays for.'' he made 17 appearances in the Premier League for Swansea during 2012/13 scoring once.

On 6th September 2012, Leroy signed for Lee Clark's Birmingham on a three month loan. Clark said "I know Leroy very well having worked with him at Norwich during a loan spell in which he scored seven goals in 16 games. He's a proven goalscorer who has power and pace and there's no doubt that he'll add quality to my squad." Lita scored three goals in 10 games for Birmingham before being recalled early.

On 25th January 2013, Lita joined Sheffield Wednesday on loan until the end of the 2012/13 season. Owls boss Dave Jones told BBC Radio Sheffield: "Leroy has a lot of experience at this level and the one above. It could be with a view to a permanent deal. This lets us have a look at him and he can have a look at us." He scored twice in nine appearances for the Owls.

On 16th October 2013, he was loaned to Brighton until 1st January 2014. He had not played for Swansea since Michael Laudrup took charge in the summer of 2012. Brighton were keen to bring in a new striker after Leo Ulloa was ruled out for two months with a broken bone in his foot. "He is strong, fast and direct, and he has shown he can score goals in the Championship." said Brighton head coach Oscar Garcia. "He offers us something different going forward."

Lita was released by Swansea at the end of the 2013/14 season

Lita joined Ipswich on trial in July 2014 and scored the only goal of the game in a pre-season friendly against Braintree but manager Mick McCarthy chose not to keep him on. Lita then signed a one year contract with Barnsley on 9th August 2014. "I know barnsley manager Danny Wilson very well," said Lita "He was my first manager and I like the way he works. He's got a lot of trust in me and I've got a lot of trust in him. I enjoyed my time under him as a youngster. He helped me a lot and helped me progress in my career so far. I just want to get back to playing football regularly again and I'm going to get that opportunity here."

Lita joined Notts County on loan from Barnsley on 3rd March 2015 until the end of the season. Although he scored in his first two league games, he had not hit the target since 19th August 2014 in 21 games. New Barnsley manager Lee Johnson made it clear that Lita would not fit into his way of playing. However his signing could not stop Notts County being relegated into League Two on 3rd May 2015 following a 3-1 defeat to Gillingham.

Lita was then told by Barnsley that his contract would not be renewed when it expired in June. He moved to Greek side AO Chania in August 2015.

He returned to England in March 2016, signing for Yeovil on 5th March until the end of the season. He was released by Yeovil on 16th May 2016. He had played eight games, scoring once in a 2-1 defeat to Bristol Rovers.

On 7th January 2017, Lita signed for Thai League side Sisaket for the 2017 season. Based in the east of the country, Sisaket play in orange and black and their only trophy was the Provinical League title in 1999/2000. He left them in September 2017 after he hadn't been paid.

On 9th September 2018 Lita joined English non-league club Margate

On 29th August 2019, Haverhill Rovers announced that Lita had signed for them initially as a coach to oversee, deliver and support within the club's EJA section and first team environments. Manager Fegus O'Callaghan said: “He’s going to start doing his (coaching) badges I think, it’s the very first start of the next step for him and it’s a real plus for us for the time he’s here. He expressed an interest in coming along to coach – he and James (Bloomfield, assistant manager) know each other from Norwich – and wanted to know if he could help out with the youth team and first team too. It’s been immediately positive, you watch him in training and you can just see the difference in movement and anticipation, we’ve already scored plenty of goals this season but I hope he can help us to score even more.”

He then had a brief spell with Sailsbury in September 2019.

On 8th November 2019, Lita signed for National League South side Chelmsford City on a short term basis, making his debut against Dorking Wanderers the following day.

On 22nd May 2020 Lita moved on again joining Southern Premier Central League side Nuneaton Borough. Nuneaton manager Jimmy Ginnelly said “The main thing that he seemed to understand was that this move wasn’t about money and it was a breath of fresh air to sit with a new signing that isn’t trying to hold the club to ransom for the most money he can get. He simply wants to give some of his footballing experience back to his local club.”

He later played for Stratford Town before moving to Southern League side Hednesford Town on 24th March 2022. He then agreed to stay for the 2022/23 campaign. In January 2023, Lita joined Southern League Premier Division Central side Ilkeston Town. He returned to Nuneaton on 1st August 2023. Leroy said “It’s great to be back at the club. The team had a good season last year. It was great to see them progressing, especially because of all the work done in the background. I feel I have unfinished business here and I’m back to help the team go that one step further”

He moved to Southern League Premier Division rivals Coalville Town on 9th January 2024 alongside Nuneaton captain Scott McManus.

Leroy has been capped 9 times by the England Under-21 squad and has scored 6 goals for them.

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