From non-league to the Premier League to Rotherham United ... all you need to know about record signing Freddie Ladapo's journey to AESSEAL New York Stadium

By Paul Davis | 24/06/2019

From non-league to the Premier League to Rotherham United ... all you need to know about record signing Freddie Ladapo's journey to AESSEAL New York Stadium
Freddie Ladapo

ROTHERHAM United have landed a striker with Premier League experience in new boy Freddie Ladapo.

The non-league scoring exploits of the frontman, now 26, caught the eye of Crystal Palace in 2016 and he went on to make one top-flight appearance, in a 4-0 defeat against Manchester United, the following year.

Ladapo had grabbed the Eagles' attention by hitting 17 goals in 33 games for Grays Athletic and following that up with 13 in 19 for fellow Isthmian League side Margate FC.

The Romford-born centre-forward had made his professional bow with Colchester United in 2012 before slipping down the pyramid and playing for various sides outside of the Football League until Palace's cash tempted Margate to sell.

Ladapo impressed below first-team level at Selhurst Park but moved to Southend United in the 2018 January transfer window and then found his way, via loan spells at Oldham Athletic and Shrewsbury Town, to Plymouth Argyle six months later.

He came good for Plymouth last season, hitting 19 goals in 49 outings for a side destined for relegation from League One, and the Pilgrims knew they would struggle this summer to keep a player whose contract was about to enter its final year.

Former boss Derek Adams said before he was sacked in April: "I think Freddie has done really well for us. We will probably find it difficult to hold on to him in the future.

"There will be a number of clubs that will chase his signature. He gets himself into goalscoring positions, he’s in his mid-20s and he has been at Crystal Palace."

The Millers have broken their transfer record to sign Ladapo, who was also wanted by Sunderland and Portsmouth, and they now have an array of frontline options for their forthcoming League One campaign as they add him to Michael Smith, Carlton Morris, Jamie Proctor and Kyle Vassell.

Plymouth fans talk of a smart finisher with the instinct to take up good positions in the penalty area.

Ladapo's taste of the top flight was fleeting, but his talent didn't go unnoticed in South London.

"Palace reluctantly let him go," Adams added. "Speaking to Mark Bright (Palace’s director of under-23 development), I know they had slight reservations about that."


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