Love Island contestants who were also footballers - Dennon Lewis, Aaron Simpson, Luke Trotman

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With Qatar 2022 pushed back to December, our only chance of seeing male footballers grafting away in their shorts this summer is the new series of Love Island.

Eight footballers have appeared in the previous seven seasons and the chances are that another one will feature somewhere along the line in season eight, although we can definitely rule out anyone from Oxford City (more on that later).

With Michael Owen's daughter Gemma already in the villa, we can quite seriously claim to be watching the ITV2 series for the footy chat.

And what better way to boost your soccer knowledge than getting the lowdown on the previous footballers that have taken part?

Dennon Lewis - season 5

Lewis, who lasted just five days on the show before being dumped, is currently at National League side Boreham Wood, who he joined from Wealdstone 13 games into the 2021/22 season. Now 25, Lewis came through the ranks at Watford and made 10 League Two appearances on loan at Crawley Town under Harry Kewell.

Released by Watford, he signed a one-year deal with Falkirk before returning to England to join Wealdstone ahead of the 2019/20 season.

Dennon Lewis Wealdstone Sep21
Dennon Lewis Wealdstone Sep21

In a campaign curtailed by Covid, Lewis featured 39 times for the Stones, scoring 13 times and providing a double-figured assists tally. It helped Wealdstone clinch the National League South title and earned Lewis a place in the division's Team of the Season for 2019/20.

The winger/forward made the switch to the LV Bet Stadium Meadow Park for an undisclosed fee and went on to appear 23 times for The Wood as they finished ninth.

Wood manager Luke Garrard said of Lewis: "He possesses great pace, good quality on the ball and travels with a real intent, which is something we feel will add to what we already have in the building."

Aaron Simpson - season 7

Aaron Simpson Sutton May21
Aaron Simpson Sutton May21

Now working on the Racing Channel, Simpson started the 2021/22 campaign with Hemel Hempstead Town, making 11 appearances in the National League South.

The former Maidstone right-back had previously been on the books of Wolves, then a Championship club, after impressing on trial.

He failed to make an appearance for the Molineux side and a loan spell at Portsmouth also failed to deliver a first-team appearance (or even one for the reserves).

There then followed his most successful spell. Arriving late to Sutton United for the 2020/21 season, he made a dozen appearances, scoring a fantastic goal against Solihull Moors, as the Us were promoted to the Football League.

Simpson, who was in a squad featuring several former Wolves colleagues including best mate Will Randall, Donovan Wilson and Ben Goodliffe, failed to earn a contract at the end of the campaign. Nevertheless, he described it as "an amazing season".

He then went from scoring worldies to trying to secure one, saying ahead of his appearance on Love Island: "I think it's an amazing opportunity. I'm all about having a good time and hopefully I can leave with a 'worldie'. I'm definitely looking for a long-lasting relationship. I've got all the player stuff out of my system, I'm ready to settle down now."

He paired up with Millie Court but the couple were dumped days before the final and reportedly split up before they had even left the island.

Finn Tapp - season 6

Tapp joined the MK Dons academy when he was eight and progressed through the ranks, scoring on his debut as a 16-year-old in a 4-1 EFL Trophy defeat to Norwich. After captaining the club's under-18 side he was awarded a professional contract at 18. However, despite coming on as a substitute against Bournemouth in the EFL Cup, he found first-team opportunities limited, spending a stint on loan with Staines Town. The 20-year-old netted twice in nine appearances for the club, but was released by MK Dons in the summer of 2019. He signed for Oxford City after impressing on trial and made 20 appearances before disappearing mid-season to fly to South Africa for the reality show.

"I actually didn't tell my football club, because of the confidentiality agreements with Love Island and stuff like that," he revealed. "It was a Tuesday night when I flew out to South Africa, and I was meant to be training. My coaches were messaging me, 'Finn, where are you?', that sort of thing!"

As a result, Oxford City's commercial director Mick Livesey said the club would be inserting clauses into new players' contracts over future appearance on TV shows. "I can assure you that all new players we sign from now on, we will be putting clauses in their contracts. I think we're going to have to." He added: "We're an ambitious football club, we're going from strength to strength and we're looking to build. This hasn't been ideal. It is probably disruptive to the club and results." Tapp who won the series alongside fellow contestant Paige Turley is now listed as retired on Transfermarkt.

He has since appeared on E4's Celebrity Coach Trip.

Mike Thalassitis - season 3

Thalassitis signed a professional contract with Stevenage in May 2011, having joined the club just after their promotion to the Football League. He only made six appearances for the club, however, before being released in 2014. His most productive spell was a season-long loan at Ebbsfleet, where he made 37 appearances and scored eight. He also scored six in 15 appearances for St Albans in 2016. Edmonton-born Thalassitis gained four Cyprus Under-21 caps, scoring twice and was called up to the senior side in 2014. However, a ruptured ACL in the final game of the season ruled him out.

He was at Margate when the Love Island call came, with his manager Steven Watt claiming that he was "disappointed" that Thalassitis had not told him that he was going to be a part of the show.

He retired from football in December 2017 following his appearance on Love Island and took part in Celebs Go Dating in 2018.

Sadly he commited suicide in June 2019.

Luke Trotman - season six

A right-back or right wing-back who started his career at Luton Town, he made his debut as a 16-year-old against Cambridge in the FA Trophy. He signed a pro deal with his boyhood club but a bad leg break sustained in a youth fixture encouraged him to pursue studies outside of the game.

"I fell out of love with football," he explained to the Non-League Paper. "I had the opportunity to go to other clubs but I wanted to go to Uni.

"I wanted something to fall back on. A lot of my mates went to university and it was always something I wanted to do. I've seen people who make it work, and then I've got it for life." During his recovery from the injury, Trotman moved from Luton to non-league outfit St Neots Town and began a degree at Loughborough University in banking, finance and management. He moved on to Nuneaton and then joined Darlington in November 2017, earning a place on the Jamie Vardy V9 coaching course at the end of the season. An outstanding 2018/19 saw him called up twice by England C for matches against Wales and Estonia.

He paired up with Siannise Fudge on Love Island and the pair dated for over a year before splitting up in November 2021.

Mike Boateng - season 6

London-born Boateng joined Sheffield United's academy in July 2013 as a third-year scholar when the Blades were in League One. The midfielder had joined from non-league outfit Handsworth FC and was farmed out on loan to Northern Counties East League side AFC Emley for first-team experience. Academy manager Nick Cox explained the decision by saying: "It is a move Michael needs, because as with a lot of scholars, he currently has no experience of playing on a Saturday afternoon where three points are at stake, with an expectant crowd in attendance."

However, while fellow Blades scholar Dominic Calvert-Lewin went on to play for the first team at Bramall Lane, earning himself a move to Everton, Boateng was released after a year and joined the police.

He was at West Lancashire Division One side Eagley United when he entered the villa and survived 41 days before departing alongside Priscilla Anyabu with whom he went on to enjoy a 15-month relationship.

Toby Aromolaran - season 7

After graduating from Loughborough University, Aromolaran joined Isthmian League North Division Hashtag United, a club founded by YouTube personality Spencer Owen in 2016.

And, in stark contrast to some fellow Love Island contestants, the midfielder went onto the show with the blessing of his club.

"I got massive support at Hashtag from the fans, to the owner, to the manager and players," he said. "I told the owner and manager, just pulled them up in some filming before pre-season, and I said, 'look, I want to miss pre-season because I think I might be going into the Love Island villa'.

"The owner, Spencer, was so happy for me, the manager as well. They were sad I was going because I was in the plans, but they saw it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.'"

Since finishing as runner-up on the show, Aromolaran has returned to the pitch at Hashtag, making 23 appearances as the side finished eighth, including scoring and getting sent off in a 2-1 win over Dereham in December.

Luis Morrison-Derbyshire - Season 1

The 6ft 4in centre-half spent the second half of the season on loan at Stafford Rangers from Macclesfield making ten appearances in all competitions. He started his career at Arsenal before making the move to Stevenage, graduating from the Academy at Broadhall Way ahead of a spell in Scandanavia. Morrison-Derbyshire represented an array of largely southern-based non-league sides including Farnborough, Maidenhead United, Hampton and Richmond, Grays and Concord Rangers before making the move north to join Altrincham in 2016. After a short spell with the Robins, he went on to have spells at Alfreton Town, Nuneaton Town, Hereford United and Radcliffe. The 27-year-old signed a two-year deal with Macclesfield in September 2021, who described his capture as "a real statement of intent" but was sent out on loan in January to Stafford where he had started the season. Finished fourth in the revived 2015 series alongside Cally Jane Beech.

Adam Jukes - Season 2

Jukes was in the villa for just a week which was probably just as well as the centre-half had been released from his scholarship at Carlisle United due to homesickness. He went on to sign for Macclesfield Town and made the bench during the closing weeks of the 2009/10 season. However, he was released in the summer.

He went on to join Warrington Town after impressing on trial but there is little more detail to be found on the recruitment consultant's subsequent footballing exploits.

The article Love Island contestants who were also footballers - Dennon Lewis, Aaron Simpson, Luke Trotman… appeared first on Planetsport.com.

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