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From Ukraine exile to scoring against Chelsea: Trial star Lorenzen wants to crack English football


A host of big name Blues stars played a friendly ahead of going out on loan – but there was another story from the match at Cobham

Melvyn Lorenzen hopes that his goal against a Chelsea XI at Cobham Training Centre as a trialist for AFC Wimbledon reminds people that he is a former top-flight winger, as he looks for a move to an English club.

The 1-1 draw saw Victor Moses score the equaliser for a Chelsea side that also included the likes of Davide Zappacosta, Jake Clarke-Salter, Baba Rahman, Danny Drinkwater and Lewis Baker.

That group of players will ultimately go on loan, but the match was also a chance for Wimbledon to look at players and give minutes to their fringe stars. For Lorenzen, who has played in the Bundesliga with Werder Bremen and Eredivisie with ADO Den Haag, it was about getting his first shot at English football after a wrong career move in Ukraine.

“I started training with Wimbledon on Monday and it was suggested that I play in the friendly match against Chelsea,” Lorenzen told Goal.

“It was my first game in a long time and I had to be efficient with my energy but I played well, had a good match, was active and I scored the opening goal from a free-kick cross, flicking it into the far corner. I had a good half and I am really satisfied with what I was able to show.

“There were some good players in Chelsea’s teams and I played against both Rahman in Germany and Salter-Clarke in Holland. It was nice to compare myself with these guys after not playing for months, it showed I can play at a high level.

“I played my last match in January. I was close to signing for a new club in February until coronavirus hit so it has been eight months. It wasn’t Chelsea’s first team but they are really good players. After my experience in the Bundesliga, I wasn’t shy, I know I can compete.

“I am really certain that English football would suit me well after growing up in Germany’s academy system, with four years at Werder Bremen in a physical league, then two years in a technical league of Holland. It is a good time to come to England and show my capabilities.

“I think I am good enough to play for any team in the Championship and ultimately I want to reach the Premier League. Some clubs may have doubts but I think I showed yesterday that I can do it. I just need the chance.”

Despite having played at Wimbledon, the winger, represented by AGM Sports Agency, is looking towards the Championship after already experiencing top-flight football ahead of his ill-fated move to Ukraine.

The 25-year-old has lined up alongside Champions League winner Serge Gnabry, while he has also represented Uganda at international level. Having grown up in Germany, his return to England is about coming back to the place of his birth to rediscover the country he left as a little boy.

“My mother worked in London in the early 90s and my father came from Uganda to study here and they met,” he added. “At the age of four, I left for Germany after they split up after my birth. My memories of this country are very blurry. Everything feels new but familiar here.

“I grew up in Germany but I have family here. English football is two birds with one stone to live a football dream and connect with my family after being born in Chelsea and Westminster hospital.”

Now, Lorenzen said he wants to focus on his club career, although he is open to a call for Uganda again after taking his next step with his career having been derailed by a career misstep at his previous club Karpaty Lviv.




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