In 2017, Denzeil Boadu became the first Englishman in the history of Borussia Dortmund – but his move from Manchester City was carried out completely silently. The then 20-year-old already had a crazy injury odyssey behind him. Boadu has now been without a club for three years and hires himself out as a rapper.
One could say that Denzeil Boadu’s vita has always been somewhat shrouded in mystery. It all began around his move to Borussia Dortmund in 2017. Boadu was 20 at the time and joined BVB’s second team – but nobody noticed.
At least not right away. First the English Sun revealed what had been kept secret in Dortmund: The tabloid newspaper found Boadu’s player profile listed on the BVB homepage in the U23 section. The offensive player came to Borussia with his buddy Jadon Sancho from Manchester City’s second team.
Team manager Ingo Preuss had to confirm immediately: “Denzeil was a great talent in his youth. But then some injuries threw him back. We’re trying to get him back to the level he was before.” In the SPOX interview, Preuss revealed that BVB came to Boadu thanks to Sancho.
However, Preuss had grossly understated. It was basically just a bruise that bothered Boadu, but it was so severe that it almost ended his career. On November 1, 2014, Boadu had switched to the Citizens U18s at the age of 16 after positions in the youth division at Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC last year. Immediately after scoring his second goal in the game against Bolton Wanderers, he felt something was wrong.
BVB: Denzeil Boadu and the 20-month odyssey
Nevertheless, Boadu did not let himself be dissuaded from contributing a third goal to the 7-0 victory. But after the game, an examination revealed that he had fractured his fifth metatarsal.
Boadu was afraid of the surgery that was recommended to him and opted for conservative treatment. A fatal mistake and the beginning of a 20-month odyssey, about which he would later say: “There was a point at which I didn’t believe I would ever play football again. And then when I hadn’t been for eight months After running, there was a point where I didn’t think I would ever run again.”
The short version: In March 2015, Boadu underwent surgery after all, a downtime of three months was forecast. However, a defective screw used to stabilize the foot triggered an infection. Boadu then took antibiotics for a long time and lay motionless in bed. It was only after seven washouts of the inflammation and another operation that the matter subsided.
Denzeil Boadu and his special place in BVB history
“An injury that used to last three months turned into 20 months. That’s what drove me crazy,” said Boadu, who before this ordeal was already scoring four goals in four England Under-17 games.
Two years after the game against Bolton, he made his comeback in City’s U21, for whom he later played regularly. Boadu was also involved in training with the first team under Pep Guardiola, but despite a professional contract, he was no longer believed to be capable of making the leap to the top. After four years in Manchester it went to BVB.
Boadu signed in August 2017 one day before Sancho, which earned him a special place in BVB history: he was the first Englishman in the club’s 107-year history. “Football could have been over at 19 so I’m grateful for every day that I’m fit,” he said.
BVB: Denzeil Boadu regularly with the pros in training
However, it took more than two months before Dortmund’s new number 30 was eligible to play and could play for the U23s for the first time. Boadu, who could be deployed in the central attacking midfield and as a hanging striker, indicated early on that he could be a reinforcement thanks to his technique and dynamism.
He was also allowed to train regularly with the BVB pros. After his first season in the Regionalliga West, in which he started 14 of 15 games and missed four games after a red card, Lucien Favre took him on the USA tour during pre-season.
Shortly before the start of the season with the U23s, however, Boadu injured his knee and was out for three months. As a result, he was unable to draw lasting attention to himself. After eleven games from the start, his contract expired at the end of the season. Boadu was stagnating and wanted to give his career a boost back home.
Denzeil Boadu: Mini fresh start at Crewley Town
He also auditioned for Dutch second division club Top Oss, but after a trial at championship club Reading FC, Boadu eventually moved to Crawley Town. The club south of its native city of London played in the fourth-rate League Two and thus offered a similar level to the German regional league.
Boadu received a two-year contract and plenty of advance praise. “Looking at Denzeil’s résumé, we are absolutely delighted that he has joined the club. Everywhere he has played there has never been any doubt about his ability and commitment,” said Reds sporting director Selim Gaygusuz. “You play “Not at the clubs Denzeil has played for if you don’t have any particular talent. Sometimes you have to take a step back to move forward in your career. Denzeil is keen to make the most of his new start.”
At this point in Boadu’s life, however, circumstances shrouded in mystery once again set in. His stay at Crawley lasted only two cup games over 140 minutes and four months. “We had to accept reluctantly as Denzeil insisted on leaving the club,” said technical director Erdem Konyar.
BVB: Ex-talent Denzeil Boadu is now hired out as a rapper
Then the trace of the 25-year-old is lost. Boadu has been without a club for three years now, and his former social media channels have been deleted. It seems he has swapped football for music.
Boadu is now hired out as a rapper: denzeil_music is the name of his profile on Instagram. He has posted nine posts since November 2021, praising five songs there. His only 233 followers include Everton’s Alex Iwobi, Fulham’s Tosin Adarabioyo or his two former BVB teammates Joseph Boyamba (1860) and Tim Sechelmann (Magdeburg).
“I don’t know if I’ll ever make up for lost time,” Boadu once said after recovering from a devastating metatarsal fracture. As for football, he hasn’t been consistent enough to actually close that gap.
It should be clear when you look at one of his rap songs entitled “Letter To Ball” that this sport still occupies him to this day. One line reads: “How can my first love turn into the deepest of pains?”. In English: How can my first love turn into the deepest pain?
BVB: The career of ex-talent Denzeil Boadu at a glance