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Dan Udoh Player Feature

26 October 2023

He's loved by Shrewsbury fans for his goals and performances on the pitch.

And Dan Udoh recently sat down with the TWS Podcast to discuss his career and life away from the game.

The TWS Sports Podcast is the only sports podcast in the UK hosted by autistic children.  

It was designed to allow young adults from Tettenhall Wood School in Wolverhampton to develop key skills while interviewing sportsmen and women from around the world. 

The podcast, which was voted the best sports podcast in the world that promotes equality at the 2021 Sports Podcast Awards, has interviewed a wide range of guests including our boss Matt Taylor. 

However, as they embark on a new season alongside the new school year, it was the turn of Salop striker and fan favourite Dan Udoh!   

The podcast delved deep into the 27-year-old's life, starting, of course, with Dan’s childhood in Nigeria prior to his move to England.  

“Obviously for me, I didn’t know anything better but growing up in Nigeria was really fun,” Dan told TWS students Alyssa and Jacob. 

“I was brought up with my brothers and sisters – three brothers and two sisters, it’s quite a big family!  

“I grew up in a big family, but we also had other family around all the time. It was basically a two-bedroom house with about 10 people living in it! 

“Me, my older brother and my two younger ones used to sleep in the same room and the girls all shared a room with my mum.  

“I definitely stepped on my siblings a few times during the night whenever I was going to the toilet or something.” 

A very popular and well-respected man in Shrewsbury, Dan is well known for his polite demeanour and for generally being a brilliant example both on and off the pitch. However, the forward admitted he wasn’t always the best behaved as a child.  

“This is something the boys always make fun of me for but in Nigeria we still had the cane in schools. The older generations in England will remember that 

“If you were naughty, it was hands out and whack, whack, whack. And I was one of the naughty ones that got it a few times.  

“And then when I came to England and the worst thing that happened was a detention, I was buzzing!”  

After more than his fair share of canings, the time came for Dan, his mother and his siblings joined his dad in the United Kingdom.  

“Our family moved to England for better opportunities; my dad wanted to give me and my siblings a better opportunity in life.  

“At the time, he was already in England, so he thought it would be the perfect time to bring the family over.   

“I was luckily the first one to come over and then my brothers and sisters joined us bit by bit because it was difficult to move the whole family at once.”  

Fortunately for the then nine-year-old, he coped with this mammoth transition about as well as he possibly could have.  

“It was really good; I remember it like it was yesterday,” Dan reflected.  

“The weather was obviously a bit different. I came around December, so it was really cold. Imagine going from 25-30 degrees every day to December in England.  

“But school-wise, it wasn’t too bad because we spoke English in Nigeria. Also, the school curriculum in England was similar to the one in Nigeria, I’d say.”  

It was around this time that Dan’s footballing ability was starting to shine through, and Luton Town came knocking when he was a teenager.  

“At first I was just playing Sunday league and having fun with my mates,” Dan began, “and that’s where I got found by Luton.  

“It was really good for me to get more training sessions in, and it was really enjoyable because we got to go to other teams.  

“I remember playing Norwich and that was the first time I went to a training camp with the other boys and got to just play football.  

“That was the first time I was away from home, away from my mum and dad. I was in bed crying because I missed home at 13 years old.”  

Following his time at Luton, Dan went on to play for 13 different clubs in just four years as a teenager.  

I think I moved about a lot because I was still learning a lot about football. I think I was either not getting an opportunity or I wasn’t taking the opportunity when I was given it.  

“It helped me develop as a player because I saw lots of different characters in the game. Loads of different managers, different styles, different players and dressing room pranks too!”  

After politely declining to elaborate on the dressing room pranks, Dan continued: “It built a mentality in me because I really wanted to become a professional footballer.   

“I was waking up at three o’clock in the morning to get the train to Kidderminster to play football – things like that are what I always remember when I’m going through a tough time.”  

Thankfully for Dan, the highlight of his career up to that point was just around the corner as all his hard work bore fruit, and he was offered his first professional contract.  

“I finally found myself at a good club in Ilkeston who were really good with young lads. We were training every day and it was the first time I got to play loads of men’s football.  

“I remember getting a call from my agent at the time saying Crewe were interested in me.  

“I looked them up straight away and they were in League One. I was like ‘woah, this is a really big step for me.’  

“My agent told me we could get the deal done by the weekend and I felt like everything I had worked hard for had come to fruition.”  

“I learnt a lot over those next few months. I had highs at Halesowen, lows at Chester and then I went to Telford after Crewe didn’t offer me another contract.  

“Gav Cowan was the (Telford) manager at the time and he played to my strengths, made me feel really good about myself and I enjoyed my football again. That kickstarted everything for me.”  

After a very successful stint down the road, Dan was finally offered another chance to be a professional footballer when Salop came calling.  

“This time I thought to myself ‘I’ve got another opportunity to be a professional footballer and I’m going to make sure I do everything to push on this time and stay at the level and get better.’  

I’ll never forget that day because I’d just finished the season with Telford and I’d got myself a job at a fish and chip shop doing deliveries!  

“I signed the contract with the chairman, the CEO and my agent, and then went back to the fish and chip shop because I had a holiday to pay for!” 


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