Worthing have unveiled a forward with Premier League pedigree as their latest addition to the squad for the new season.
Shola Ayoola – or Olusola Adeola Ayoola to give him his full name – started out at Dublin-based Cherry Orchard FC before being spotted and signed by Stoke City in 2015, when he was 16.
After impressing in their Under-16’s, he worked his way through to the Under-23’s where he made his debut against Newcastle United. Although used mainly as a substitute, Shola racked up a total of ten appearances, scoring three goals. Notching twice in a 4-2 win over West Bromwich Albion and once more in defeat to Reading.
Despite being born in Ibadan, Nigeria he’s represented the Republic of Ireland at Under-18 level and made the squad for games with Czech Republic, Russia, Turkey and Slovakia in April 2017.
Spent that first game against the Czechs watching from the bench before being called upon to pull on the green shirt against the Russians, Turks and Slovaks. Bagged his only goal for the side in just his second match.
Disappointment came in the form of his release by The Potters last June, alongside experienced midfielder, Stephen Ireland, whereupon he got his passport stamped again when he flew to America to try his luck (further) across the pond.
Returned to these shores and rose from the bench at Three Bridges, finding the back of the net by rounding off a free-flowing team move with a perfectly-timed run that completed the scoring.
A tall centre-forward who not only adds goals but also a physical presence up front and will certainly keep our other attacking players on their toes, with just Whyteleafe to come before the battles for three points resume at Folkestone Invicta in a little over a week’s time.
“Shola is a big powerful striker who has pace, and offers us a different attacking option. He will be able to hold the ball up and give us some needed physical presence in certain games. He is young and hungry to improve his game and has already settled in great with the rest of the lads.”
– Adam Hinselwood