Ipswich Town signed 19-year-old defender Levi Andoh when the transfer window opened. ANDY WARREN spoke to him at the start of his Blues career.
Hi Levi, how are you settling in at Ipswich?
LA: I’ve settled in really well because all the boys have made me feel very welcome.
All the coaches and all the staff are great and I feel settled already which is great.
Coming in on trial was tough at first because I didn’t really know what to expect, what the level was like or how people would be towards me, but everyone made me feel very welcome.
I enjoyed myself on trial, got two assists and helped the team win twice which made me feel good. Being in the team environment was great.”
Are you settled in the town with somewhere to live and everything?
LA: I’m living at Chambo’s (Luke Chambers) and that’s the perfect place for me.
There are a few of us in there now – Brett McGavin, Ben Morris, Lounes Foudil and me – and he’s a lovely person and he’s made me feel very welcome.
He’s helped me with my football and is a legend of the club so he’s someone I can learn a lot from.
You obviously got off to a great start, scoring for the Under 23s on your first appearance at Charlton on Monday.
LA: It was an amazing start and was more than I could really have asked for.
Helping the team score and come back to win was brilliant, so to do that in my first game makes me very proud.
I can only hope for more in the future.
You’re still only 19 but you’ve had quite the journey to get to this point…
LA: My parents are from Ghana but I was born in Amsterdam and moved to England when I was six.
I would describe myself as Dutch, still speak the language and go back there a lot.
I wasn’t playing football at all in Amsterdam but when I came over here I started playing for a local team around Wolverhampton and I got picked up by Aston Villa.
I was there for eight years until I was 14 and got released so from there I went to a few clubs like Port Vale, Walsall and Wolves.
They didn’t see anything in me so I dropped down to non-league level and started playing football in college.
I stopped playing football for a year but from 16 I started taking it more seriously and played for my team at Ormiston New Academy in Wolverhampton and got picked up by Worcester City.
I played for a few non-league teams and my agent saw me playing for Solihull Moors Under 21s and that’s when I got taken on trial to Ipswich.
So was Paul Lambert the Aston Villa manager when you were there?
LA: He was. I haven’t told him this yet but one time he came into our team room when I was in the Under 13s and had a good chat with all of us.
He obviously wouldn’t remember me but for him now to be the manager of the club I play for is crazy. Kind of mad.
And you have spent some time at Thompson Rivers University in Canada, too?
LV: I was there for six months training and playing which was a great experience and helped me mature.
I enjoyed it there but I’m excited to be pursuing a professional career here now.
I was studying business, economics and psychology so maybe if football didn’t or doesn’t work out I will go into that.
But all I want is football and I’ll work hard for it.
What did the manager say to you when he signed you?
LA: He told me he was excited to work with me and that I’d done well on my trial, so that was exciting and great to hear.
He talked about my potential but I know I need to work hard now to make it happen.
I have a lot to learn and the step up from where I was in my football career to where I am now is really big so I’m happy to be here and I’m looking forward to working hard.
You can play anywhere in defence as well as in midfield, but where do you see yourself settling down?
LA: I need to secure one position, 100 per cent.
The one I feel most confident in is centre-back and that’s the one I would like to secure.
I have good pace, composure on the ball and a good understanding of the game as a centre back. I love defending, keeping clean sheets and one-on-ones.
My main attributes are pace, power and jumping to win headers as well.
So what’s your aim now?
LA: I want to work towards the first team and prove to everyone how good of a player I know I can be.
I’ve got a lot to learn and a lot of work to do, and I’ll be in the Under 23s for a while, but one day I’d like to work towards the first team.