Top south London footballer signs for Portuguese club

Top south London footballer signs for Portuguese club

Nathan Laleye, 16, who became the youngest footballer to play for Guildford City FC in February, has just signed for a Portuguese team.

Laleye, who made his debut for Guildford City FC aged just 16 years and two months, was snapped up by Grupo Sportivo de Loures.

Nathan’s dad Richard Laleye said: “We’re absolutely over the moon.

“Hard work, dedication and self-belief have led my son to this path, signing his first contract in Portugal and playing in the national league.

“I would like to thank his agent Paulo Valente (All Talent Sports) for his dedication and commitment and also coaches Mario de Brito and Antonio Paulo Pendao.

“These individuals have gone above and beyond to bring my son from south London to Portugal.”

Grupo Sportivo de Loures is located in Loures, Portugal, and plays in the fourth level of Portuguese football.

Statistics that show Nathan Laleye one of the most exciting young footballers in London

Despite his young age, Nathan is already sprinting harder and covering more distance than most adult footballers.

In Laleye’s debut game for Guildford against AFC Hayes, he covered approximately 11.45km – the best in the Premier League in a single game was 13.21km last season.

Laleye’s sprint distance against Hayes, the total distance a player covers while sprinting in a match, was 973.61m, which is higher than the average of 746m.

This means he is already adapted to the English game, where sprint distances and high-intensity runs are required more than on the European continent.

Guilford City FC manager Paul Barnes said: “ It was a superb debut from Nathan Laleye. He has a bright future in the game.

“I was so proud of him for his performance and maturity in stepping up to senior football. He was bright and hardworking. What a way to introduce yourself as a 16-year-old.”

Laleye’s impressive start can be compared to other top young British prospects who have made a senior debut at a young age recently, including Chelsea FC’s Billy Gilmour and Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood.

Laleye’s running stats are similar to Gilmour, who made his Premier League debut for the Blues on August 31, 2019, when he was just 17.

In 2020 before the Covid restart, Gilmour was Chelsea’s record runner in a single game when he covered a colossal 12.62km against Everton.

In comparison, Laleye covered 11.45km in his debut game, but he was a year younger than Gilmour.

In the Premier League 2019/20 season, the most distance covered by a player in a single match was 13.21km, which is an indication of Laleye’s work rate.

Laleye has also been a prolific goal scorer at the youth level, just like Manchester United striker Greenwood.

When Greenwood was six years old he scored a staggering 16 goals in his debut match for a local side.

Laleye was just as prolific, scoring an impressive 74 goals in a single season at Dagenham and Redbridge’s youth team when he was 11.