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Nuneaton sign ex-Premier League and EFL striker

Southern League Premier Division Central outfit Nuneaton Borough sign an ex-Premier League and EFL striker, who was recently at Chelmsford City.

It was back in May that they brought the forward into the club, however he has been unable to play any matches due to the coronavirus pandemic, which cancelled much of the 2019/20 non league season.

Boro manager Jimmy Ginnelly expressed how delighted he was to have new signing Leroy Lita, especially with the player’s pedigree.

Jimmy said: “His partner is from Nuneaton and they’ve recently moved into a house on The Longshoot, which is just 5 minutes from the ground, so this is a win-win situation for both parties.”

“These sort of players don’t come onto Nuneaton’s radar very often so we moved quickly and obviously all of us here at the Boro are very excited.”

“Me and Leroy had a good old chat about football and life in general and we finally got to talking about him joining the club.”

“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.”

“Hopefully he can give the players and our fantastic supporters the benefit of his England U21’s and Premiership skills.”

Lita made his debut in Nuneaton’s win over Atherstone Town in a pre-season friendly which took place on the 4th of August 2020, and then was named in the starting lineup for their 8-0 defeat to a strong Swindon Town side days later.

Lita retired from professional football in the summer, though had a brief spell for Margate in 2018 and for Salisbury in September earlier this year.

Lita started his youth career with Chelsea before leaving them for Bristol City in 2002, where he went on to score over 30 goals.

He has also played four seasons in the top flight whilst at Reading and Swansea City.

As well as Premier League experience, he’s also had plenty in the Football League, featuring for the likes of Middlesbrough, Birmingham City, Sheffield Wednesday, Brighton & Hove Albion, Barnsley, Notts County and Yeovil Town.

Lita played abroad for AO Chania in Greece and Sisaket in Thailand.

At international level, Leroy made 9 appearances for the England Under 21’s, scoring 6 goals.

On joining Nuneaton, Lita said: “Get on board and stick with us. Try and support what we are trying to do. We’re not here for any other reason but to pick this town up and make them proud of their team. We want them to love going down and seeing their team.”

“We don’t want players simply coming in to collect a little bit of money. We want players who want to achieve things at the club and bring the community together. We want to get young players involved and hopefully see them progress.”

“I’m looking forward to the whole vision of the club. We want players on board who want to achieve what we all want, promotion. I want to use my experience to help the people around me.

“Me and the Mrs had been planning on moving here for a while now. Me and Jimmy had been in contact for a few months and when I moved here I always said I would love to be involved with my local club.

“From the first-team all the way down to the youth teams I will be involved to give them tips. I just want to try and help by passing on my knowledge.

“I’m still fit and healthy and still want to play. We moved to the area, gave Jimmy a call and now we are here.

“Although I’m classed as a striker I prefer midfield now because I have a vision of the game. I think players don’t pass forward enough now and everyone only thinks of their pass completion. I’ll always look to go forward. I can still do a job up front and score goals. I always have a target to reach but don’t ever tell anyone until I reach it.

“I love not only football but being around good people. Football’s a beautiful sport and I always want to be part of it. Jimmy has given me the chance to be a coach so I can pass on my insight both in training and as a player to the club.

“I want to be here, I don’t have to be here – there’s a big difference.

“Me and the Mrs had been planning on moving here for a while now. Me and Jimmy had been in contact for a few months and when I moved here I always said I would love to be involved with my local club.

“From the first-team all the way down to the youth teams I will be involved to give them tips. I just want to try and help by passing on my knowledge.

“I’m still fit and healthy and still want to play. We moved to the area, gave Jimmy a call and now we are here.

“Although I’m classed as a striker I prefer midfield now because I have a vision of the game. I think players don’t pass forward enough now and everyone only thinks of their pass completion. I’ll always look to go forward. I can still do a job up front and score goals. I always have a target to reach but don’t ever tell anyone until I reach it.

“I love not only football but being around good people. Football’s a beautiful sport and I always want to be part of it. Jimmy has given me the chance to be a coach so I can pass on my insight both in training and as a player to the club.

“I want to be here, I don’t have to be here – there’s a big difference.”

Months later, speaking to one media outlet, he added: “I’m really happy to be here, it’s a good move for me personally,” he said.

“My wife (Anna) has been nagging me for years to move back here and play for the Boro!

“She’s from the town and we have just moved to by the Longshoot (Hotel) so I thought it’d be good to get involved with the club at this point.

“I’m managing Frank Parker FC on a Sunday as well so I am really trying to get to know people in the community. It’s really good to be here in the town, involved in things.

“I feel really happy and settled in the area now.”

He added: “I’ve been given the opportunity to play but also the key thing for me is I can do coaching as well so I’m enjoying it.

“Jimmy’s a great character and he certainly knows his stuff.

“I’m learning every day off him. We sit and chat for hours most days.

“It’s good to see the other side, how he does things. I want to learn from him.

“I do want to get back into the professional game as a coach eventually.

“But I’ve got this opportunity right now and I’m just saying to Jimmy ‘Let me learn and get some experience’.

“I might then be able to push forward in the future.

“There are some good young lads around the club,” he said.

“The questions they have asked me are what youngsters should be asking. I’ve met young lads before who don’t sound like this. They don’t love football as much as these young lads seem to.

“These lads (here at Nuneaton) are working hard and they are saying they are enjoying it so I’m pleased with that.”

“I’m still feeling good,” he added as the Boro prepare for pre-season friendlies in August. “I’ve looked after myself and I am still quite fit so I can’t wait to get things going now.

“I’m excited. I want to do well for the club, play and be involved. I’ve been given an opportunity.

“We have some good players here. We just need to get some games on now and get everyone’s fitness to where it needs to be and we can push forward.

“It won’t be long now. We’ll be back out there soon. We just want the season to start and then we can really enjoy ourselves.”

HIS PLAYING CAREER:

2002–2005 – Bristol City – 85 games, 31 goals
2005–2009 – Reading – 83 games, 20 goals
2008 → Charlton Athletic (loan) – 8 games, 3 goals
2008–2009 → Norwich City (loan) – 16 games, 7 goals
2009–2011 – Middlesbrough – 78 games, 20 goals
2011–2014 – Swansea City – 18 games, 2 goals
2012 → Birmingham City (loan) – 10 games, 3 goals
2013 → Sheffield Wednesday (loan) – 17 games, 6 goals
2013 → Brighton & Hove Albion (loan) – 5 games, 1 goals
2014–2015 – Barnsley – 19 games, 2 goals
2015 → Notts County (loan) – 6 games, 0 goals
2015–2016 – AO Chania – 11 games, 1 goals
2016 – Yeovil Town – 8 games, 1 goals
2017 – Sisaket – 21 games, 5 goals
2018 – Margate – 3 games, 0 goals
2019 – Salisbury – 3 games, 2 goals
2019 – 2020 – Chelmsford City – 14 games, 2 goals

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