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Leroy Lita
Leroy Lita.jpg
Leroy Lita playing for Middlesbrough.
Personal information
Full name Leroy Halirou Bohari Lita[1]
Date of birth 28 December 1984 (1984-12-28) (age 25)
Place of birth Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
Height 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current club Middlesbrough
Number 9
Youth career
1999–2001 Chelsea
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2002–2005 Bristol City 85 (31)
2005–2009 Reading 83 (20)
2008 Charlton Athletic (loan) 8 (3)
2008 Norwich City (loan) 16 (7)
2009– Middlesbrough 32 (7)
National team
2005–2007 England U21 9 (6)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 23:05, 16 March 2010 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 23:19, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

Leroy Halirou Bohari Lita (born 28 December 1984), more commonly known as Leroy Lita, is a Congolese-born English footballer who plays for Middlesbrough. Lita was a product of the Chelsea youth system. He failed to play for Chelsea, and moved to Bristol City and Reading, where his form helped him earn a place with the England under-21 side. He has also played on loan with Charlton Athletic and Norwich City.

Contents

Club career

Born in Kinshasa,[2] Lita signed his first professional contract for Bristol City at the age of 18 at the start of the 2003-04 season, after being discovered by scout Roger Barton.[3] It wasn't until Brian Tinnion took over from Danny Wilson as manager at the start of the 2004–05 season that Lita really established himself in the first team. That year he scored 29 goals in all competitions for club and one U21 international goal taking his tally to 30 for the season.

Lita moved to Reading (then in the Football League Championship) on 13 July 2005 for a then club record fee of £1 million.[4] Lita's potential was confirmed when he hit a hat-trick against West Bromwich Albion in the third round of the FA Cup on 17 January 2006.

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 first team. He ended his drought by scoring against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, the first of ten goals in twelve games.[5]

On 13 April 2007, Lita was banned for three games for allegedly headbutting Talal El Karkouri of Charlton Athletic on 9 April, a charge disputed by both the player and Reading's manager, Steve Coppell.

In a freak occurrence just prior to the start of the 2007–08 season, Lita was faced with a month of downtime after damaging a leg muscle as he, supposedly, stretched in bed upon waking.[6] Coppell told the BBC: "Leroy is in a great deal of pain. It's a point of laughter but a serious business for him because he's going to be out for three or four weeks."

On 5 March 2008, Lita joined Charlton on a 28 day loan deal, after finding his first team opportunities limited at Reading during the 2007–08 season.[7] The loan was later extended to the end of the season,[8] but he was called back from the loan on 19 April for the last three games of the season.[9] Lita then went to Norwich City for a month long loan on 1 October. He scored 4 goals in his initial 6 game spell including a hat-trick against Wolverhampton in a 5-2 victory. Reading and Norwich agreed to extend the loan for another 6 games until 7 December. Following Norwich's 2-0 win over local rivals Ipswich, it was announced on the 8th December that Lita would sign for a third month on loan.

Lita returned to Reading and played in the third round FA Cup tie defeat at Cardiff City.[10]

He then made his first league appearance since August, coming on as a sub, to score a goal against Watford at home on the 9th January 2009, to make it 4-0. Later, in the same week Lita announced that he had changed for the better, and that he would stay with Reading for the promotion push.[11]

Sheffield United had a seven figure sum accepted by Reading for Leroy Lita on 13th January 2009, but the club later withdrew from proceedings after they were not willing to pay the £1.2m signing-on fee being requested by Lita. On 15 May 2009 Lita was told along with Michael Duberry, club captain Graeme Murty and Marcus Hahnemann that their contracts would not be renewed.

On 3 August 2009, it was announced that he would join Middlesbrough on a free transfer.[12] He made his debut for Middlesbrough on 7 August 2009 in a 0-0 draw with Sheffield United, but had limited opportunities to score. [13] Lita scored his first goal for Middlesbrough against Doncaster, in a 2-0 win for the Boro. He received a yellow card for removing his shirt in his subsequent celebration.[14] He scored his second goal when returning to his old club Reading in Middlesbrough's 2-0 win on 3 October 2009. His third goal for Middlesbrough came on the 21st of November 2009 against Nottingham Forest off a rebound off a Julio Arca shot. On the 5th of December 2009, Leroy Lita scored 2 goals in a 5-1 win against QPR, Middlesbrough's first win under new manager Gordon Strachan. Lita again received a yellow card for his goal celebration. On Boxing Day 2009, Lita received a red card for an elbow during the win against Scunthorpe, which was the first of his career.

International career

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England U21 breakthrough

Lita rejected the chance to play for DR Congo in favour of pursuing an international career with England, despite having previously stated he wished to represent the country of his birth.[15] He scored on his debut for England U21 with a goal against Holland U21 in a 2-1 loss on 8 February 2005, coming on as a second half substitute.[16] He had to wait over a year to make his second appearance, again as a substitute, in a 3-1 win over Norway on 28 February 2006.[17] Following excellent goal-scoring form in the Premier League, Lita was awarded with a further cap as a substitute in the 2-2 draw with Spain on 6 February 2007, scoring his second goal in three international appearances.

2007 European U21 Championship

Despite being 22, Lita was eligible to compete in the 2007 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship,[18] and was called up to the squad.[19]

In the first group game against the Czech Republic, England were awarded a penalty in the 88th minute which Lita subsequently dragged wide condemning England to a scoreless draw.[20] However he then scored for England in each of their next three games; a 2-2 draw against Italy, a 2-0 win over Serbia, and a 1-1 (13-12) penalty shoot-out loss to Holland in the semi-finals.

After the tournament he was named in the UEFA Dream Team for the tournament.[21]

Career statistics

All-Time Club Performance
Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Other Total
App Goals App Goals App Goals App Goals App Goals
Middlesbrough (Championship) 2009–10 6 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 7 1
Reading Total 83 20 9 7 8 5 0 0 100 32
Reading (Championship) 2008–09 10 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 12 1
(Premier League) 2007–08 14 1 2 0 2 1 0 0 18 2
2006–07 33 7 3 4 2 3 0 0 38 14
(Championship) 2005–06 26 11 3 3 3 1 0 0 32 15
Norwich City Total 16 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 16 7
Norwich City (loan) (Championship) 2008–09 16 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 16 7
Charlton Athletic Total 8 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 3
Charlton Athletic (loan) (Championship) 2007–08 8 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 3
Bristol City Total 85 31 5 3 3 2 7 2 100 38
Bristol City

(League One)

2004–05 44 24 2 1 2 2 3 2 51 29
2003–04 26 5 2 0 1 0 2 0 31 5
2002–03 15 2 1 2 0 0 2 0 18 4
Career Total 198 62 14 10 12 7 7 2 231 81
Last updated 14 September 2009.

Personal life

On 30 August 2006, Lita was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm in Bristol on 27 August[22], but on 18 September 2006 the complaint was withdrawn and police confirmed that no further action would be taken.[23]

Leroy Lita attended King Ethelberts School located in Birchington Kent.

References

  1. ^ "Statistics". Premier League. http://www.premierleague.com/staticFiles/34/3/0,,12306~131892,00.pdf. Retrieved 2010-01-11. 
  2. ^ "Chelsea finishing school graduate has eyes on Premiership honours". The Daily Telegraph. 2005-10-01. http://football.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,9753,1582421,00.html. Retrieved 2006-08-23. 
  3. ^ "Lita the fighter". The Sunday Times. 2007-04-01. http://www.www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/premiership/reading/article1596265.ece. Retrieved 2007-05-05. 
  4. ^ "Reading snap up £1m striker Lita". BBC Sport. 2005-07-14. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/r/reading/4674515.stm. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "Leroy Lita career stats". Soccerbase. http://www.soccerbase.com/players_details.sd?seasonid=136&playerid=32646. Retrieved 2007-06-16. 
  6. ^ "Lita sidelined after freak injury". BBC Sport. 2007-08-07. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/r/reading/6935892.stm. Retrieved 2007-08-07. 
  7. ^ "Lita makes Charlton loan move". readingfc.co.uk. 2008-03-05. http://www.readingfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0,,10306~1256983,00.html. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  8. ^ "Lita extends loan with Charlton". BBC Sport. 2008-03-27. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/c/charlton_athletic/7316451.stm. Retrieved 2008-03-27. 
  9. ^ "Lita back after Charlton loan". readingfc.co.uk. 2008-04-21. http://www.readingfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0,,10306~1294539,00.html. Retrieved 2009-07-20. 
  10. ^ "Cardiff 2-0 Reading". BBC Sport. 3 January 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/fa_cup/7803237.stm. Retrieved 9 January 2009. 
  11. ^ "Lita - I've changed for the better". readingfc.co.uk. 12 January 2009. http://www.readingfc.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0,,10306~1516968,00.html. Retrieved 12 January 2009. 
  12. ^ Leroy Signs For Boro
  13. ^ Middlesbrough 0 - 0 Sheff Utd
  14. ^ > [http://www.mfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/News/NewsDetail/0,,1~1742212,00.html Middlesbrough 2 - 0 Doncaster
  15. ^ "Lita seeks Simba stardom". BBC Sport. 2004-01-22. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/africa/3404339.stm. Retrieved 2006-08-30. 
  16. ^ "England U21 1-2 Holland U21". BBC Sport. 2005-02-08. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/internationals/england/4233991.stm. Retrieved 2007-02-06. 
  17. ^ "England U21 3-1 Norway U21". BBC Sport. 2006-02-28. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/internationals/4750998.stm. Retrieved 2007-02-06. 
  18. ^ "Lita hoping for his first England start tonight as he looks to Euro championships". readingfc.co.uk. 2007-02-06. http://www.readingfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0,,10306~976694,00.html. Retrieved 2007-02-06. 
  19. ^ "FA names 30-man England U21 squad". BBC Sport. 2007-05-10. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/internationals/6644497.stm. Retrieved 2007-05-10. 
  20. ^ "Czech Rep U21 0-0 England U21". BBC Sport. 2007-06-11. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/internationals/6738781.stm. Retrieved 2007-06-12. 
  21. ^ "Lita gets award from UEFA". readingfc.co.uk. 2007-07-02. http://www.readingfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0,,10306~1065230,00.html. Retrieved 2007-07-02. 
  22. ^ "Footballer arrested over attack". BBC News. 2006-08-30. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/5298340.stm. Retrieved 2006-08-30. 
  23. ^ "Complaint against player dropped". BBC News. 2006-09-18. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/5355882.stm. Retrieved 2006-09-18. 

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