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Aston Villa's Wesley motivated by rejection and becoming a father at 14

18:21 BST 18/10/2019
Wesley Aston Villa 2019-20
The Brazilian was turned down by Atletico and two French teams, and had a turbulent life off the field, but the support of his mother got him through

Aston Villa striker Wesley says that playing in the Premier League is even sweeter having overcome so many obstacles to get a chance in England's elite.

The Brazilian striker was rejected by Atletico Madrid, Nancy and Evian and he found himself working in a factory in his homeland. He was rescued by Trencin in Slovakia before moving to Club Brugge and finally becoming Villa’s record signing this summer.

Any on-field setbacks are dwarfed by the difficulties the forward has faced off the pitch.

His father passed away when he was just nine, and he became a dad himself at 14. He needed to balance attempting to become a professional footballer with his responsibilities toward his family.

His mother’s support allowed Wesley to pursue his dreams and he makes no bones about the central role she played, and still plays, in his life.

"When my father died, it was difficult because my mum was alone with me and my brothers but she worked and now today I do everything for her,” he told Sky Sports.

"When I finish training, I call my mum because she is everything. My mum did everything to help me play so every day when I come home, I call her.

"I had my first child when I was 14 years old. It was difficult because it was during this time that I started to try and play football professionally. I had to work in the day and then go to training in the evening.

“When I play, I have to think about my family, my kids, my mum, everybody."

In addition to his rejections the 22-year-old has one leg shorter than the other, but he laughs that off.

“I am very happy playing in the Premier League, in the biggest competition in the world,” hes said

“Every day I think about the past, what I was thinking when teams were saying no to me, so I’m very happy now that I have this job.

“I don’t know what to say, I have my legs like this you know and I don’t have any pain or anything like that. I hope to continue like this.”