Armando Broja has been one of the most prolific teenagers, if not the most prolific, in terms of goalscoring in any of Europe’s top divisions this season, with the Chelsea loanee finding the back of the net 9 times in 23 appearances (16 starts) for Vitesse in the Dutch Eredivisie. In the meantime, he’s also become a full senior international, having now represented Albania three times — Broja was born in England to Albanian parents.
The 19-year-old’s rise has been rather meteoric over the last couple years, from scoring just twice for the U18s two seasons ago, to 19 at all age levels last season, to now playing in a top European division and on the international stage.
As he tells it, that step-back of a season two years ago has been crucial in propelling him forwards ever since.
“In the first year of U18s, I was 17 and I wasn’t having the greatest season. 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. 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.”
-Armando Broja; source: Goal
Broja had made his senior Chelsea debut in the very last match played before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, playing the final few minutes of our 4-0 win over Everton. But just training with the senior team during those days has been helpful as well, especially as he’s now being counted on by both club and country.
“You can tell the tempo straight away. Everyone was at the top of their game. You learn from some of the best. You develop even by watching them.”
“[Mason Mount told me] you have to man up quite quickly [at Vitesse], you’re living on your own in a different country. You’re not going to have your parents to rely on. You’ve got to step up because you’re playing men’s football. You have to ask more from yourself.”
“I knew I needed to get bigger so I wouldn’t be pushed off the ball. You’re playing against grown men. It’s hard physically and mentally.”
-Armando Broja; source: Guardian
Broja’s certainly making it look easy at such a young already. Can’t wait to see what the future holds for him!