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Club News

Rossoneri To Rochdale

11 August 2023

Club News

Rossoneri To Rochdale

11 August 2023

Not many can say they have represented both AC Milan and Rochdale in an official capacity.

However, when new signing Jesurun Uchegbalum pulls on a Dale shirt for the first time, he will have had that honour.

The winger, who was born in Lagos [Nigeria], but moved to Venice [Italy] as a youngster, was scouted by I Rossoneri at the age of seven.

He started his footballing journey as a centre-back, but an eye for goal saw him move further upfield as he impressed in Milan’s famous academy.

“Most kids start somewhere, I was fortunate enough to start in early at AC Milan, where funnily enough a lot of people don’t know that I started off as at centre-half,” said Uchegbulam.

“As the years went on, everyone saw that I can score a lot of goals and move up the pitch really well.

“So, I started to go more and more forward, and now I’m a winger.”

He and his family moved to Harpurhey [Greater Manchester] when he was 15, spending six weeks on trial with Premier League club Everton, alongside the likes of Anthony Gordon, who is now at Newcastle United.

Aged just 16, Uchegbulam required surgery to remove a cyst on his heart, which meant he was out of action for several months.

After making a full recovery, he played for Stockport Town in the tenth tier of English football, followed by spells at Mossley and Matlock Town, where he caught the eye of Chesterfield boss Paul Cook.

He signed his first professional contract with the Spireites last summer and made 38 appearances in all competitions for them, before signing for Dale.

Speaking to BBC Sport earlier this year, he said: “I've always told myself to get back up and keep going whenever I've had setbacks.”

Welcome, Jez.

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