Armando Broja: Chelsea FC wonderkid impressing for Albania and now looking to punish England

Alex Young
·3-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Chelsea striker Armando Broja says picking Albania over England was "an easy decision" and explains how a tough spell with the Blues academy squad has shaped his career thus far.

The 19-year-old, who was born in Slough, is looking to make his third senior appearance for Albania when the Three Lions visit on Sunday, having enjoyed a somewhat meteoric rise through the international ranks after brief spells with the U19s and U21s.

"It is a big decision, of course, when you choose your country to play for,” Broja told Goal. "I went for it because I have got Albanian blood in me, I am Albanian, my parents are Albanian so it was an easy decision.

"I thought I would love to make the people there proud and make my parents proud. I wanted to lift Albania up as a country to get us to the World Cup or Euros. That's the biggest thing for them.

"If we got to the World Cup, it would be crazy and we would make history. We have never got there before so it would be something crazy as a country, you know. I have a lot of family in Albania and I visited there every year so it is really a big part of my life."

Broja spent time with Fulham and Tottenham before joining Chelsea's academy in 2009.

He has one senior appearance with the Blues, replacing Olivier Giroud in the latter stages of a 4-0 Premier League win over Everton last March, and has kicked on this season while on loan at Vitesse.

With nine goals in 23 games in Eredivisie, Borja is turning heads. But it is the reward for plenty of hard work from the teenager, who credits time with the Albania squad as a reprieve during tougher times in west London.

"In the first year of U18s, I was 17 and I wasn’t having the greatest season," he said. "I scored two goals all season so I was really down.

"I was even missing shots in training, so I didn’t play a lot. Then, I had a boost from my mum and dad that Albania called me to play with them in the summer.

REUTERS
REUTERS

"It was the U19s, so I thought it would be good to go there and get some confidence, in a different team with different players, to get my mind away from Chelsea where the season wasn’t the best. I went to Albania, played four games and I scored six goals so I felt good.

"I was scoring, playing well and Chelsea saw it. Before the start of the season, I played in Albania’s U21s against Wales in my debut. I came on at half-time and I scored within two minutes of coming on. I scored again 10 minutes later and I was feeling good and sharp and we were winning 2-0. I came off and we won.

"I felt good and I had a big confidence booster. I felt really good in pre-season with Chelsea and they saw what I achieved ahead of my second year of the youth team. I really hit the ground running and I made sure it was a good year for me.

"I went there and I scored two goals in each of my first two games and carried on scoring. It kickstarted and continued until I am here now. It is good I had that period going down to go back up. You learn a lot in that time that it is not always easy."

He added: "To be a full international at 19 is something many players have done but also a lot of others haven’t done. Yes, it is good because as a player from Chelsea, they also expect a lot from me in Albania.”

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