FORMER Colchester United favourite Sammie Szmodics passed on tips to budding footballers after returning to The Stanway School.

The 28-year-old has just enjoyed a magnificent season with Blackburn Rovers after landing the Golden Boot, bagging 33 goals in all competitions.

Szmodics also made his international debut for the Republic of Ireland, in what was a memorable campaign for the forward.

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On his return to his old school in Winstree Road, former The Stanway School pupil Szmodics looked around the new building, which he said had changed a lot since he was there.

He stayed to cheer on The Stanway School football team as they took part in a championship game, but not before he gave the side a motivational speech.

Szmodics' pre-match motivation clearly worked as they scored four goals to be crowned champions, beating the Gilberd School.


Szmodics reminded the youngsters that school, learning and believing in yourself are most important in becoming successful in whatever pathway they might choose.

The Stanway School team got to ask Szmodics questions, before they were presented with a signed shirt.

Stanway School executive headteacher, and Szmodics' ex-maths teacher, Jon Bland said: "It is always an honour to hear how The Stanway School ex-pupils have progressed as they make their way through adult life.

"It was an inspirational opportunity for our young football players and we are proud of how they played.

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"We are grateful to Sammie for visiting and we wish him every success in his football career."

Szmodics made 165 appearances for his home town club Colchester, between 2013 and 2019.

He left his home-town club Colchester back in 2019, ending his 16-year association with the club after joining Bristol City.


Szmodics played just three games for the Robins and spent most of his time on loan at Peterborough United, before signing a permanent deal at the Weston Homes Stadium.

He joined Blackburn from Peterborough in August, 2022 and was voted Blackburn's player of the year and players' player of the year at the end of this season, following a superb campaign.

Szmodics is the first player to score 30 or more goals for Blackburn in a season since 1995-1996 when Alan Shearer achieved that feat by scoring 31 in the Premier League and five in League Cup games, that season.