Blackpool’s university graduate striker is learning fast

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Blackpool’s deadline day recruit Raul Correia has described his move to the professional ranks as a “dream come true”.

The 22-year-old striker, who has been plying his trade with Radcliffe Borough in the fourth tier of non-league, was one of two signings at Bloomfield Road on Tuesday.

Experienced midfielder Neil Danns also arrived from Bury 14 years after his previous loan stint at Pool, while club captain Danny Pugh left for Port Vale in a last-minute deal.

The Angola-born Correia impressed on trial with the Seasiders last week and has been handed an initial 18-month deal, with the club holding an option to his extend his contract by a further year.

A small fee is understood to have been involved as Correia was under contract with the Evo-Stik League outfit, for whom he scored 11 times in 22 appearances.

Correia’s progression to the professional ranks has been far from typical, having relocated to Portugal from Angola at the age of two before moving to Manchester in 2004.

In England, he earned a degree in business financial management at Sheffield Hallam University.

He played for Curzon Ashton at youth level before going to university, then signed for Radcliffe Borough after graduating.

While playing as a part-time footballer, Correia has been working for the Royal Bank of Scotland.

He said: “While working I have continued playing football and I never lost faith in becoming a professional footballer.

“I cannot thank Radcliffe Borough enough for making me the player I am today and for teaching me so much about the game.

“I have learned so much over my time at Borough that I will treasure forever and take into the professional game.

“I would also like to thank Blackpool for giving me this opportunity and the chance to make my dream a reality.”

Blackpool boss Gary Bowyer said he was delighted to tie up the deal, commenting: “Raul is still learning and developing but he has certain attributes that we like in our attacking players, most notably pace and power.

“He’s determined to make the most of this opportunity and we’ll be working hard to help him reach his potential.”