Monday, July 18th, 2016
Diego De Girolamo revealed a chance phone call from his father while on holiday paved the way for his arrival at Ashton Gate.
The 20-year-old from Chesterfield, an Italian youth international, had been on the books at Sheffield United for 14 years and had the option of another 12 months at Bramall Lane.
But opportunities in a Blades shirt had been few and far between for De Girolamo, who jumped at the chance to further his career in the Sky Bet Championship and reunite with former youth coach John Pemberton in the process.
“The lads have been brilliant with me since I’ve come in, and the gaffer and the rest of the staff have been really good too,” he told City's official YouTube channel. “I’m really looking forward to the season.
“I ended last season thinking I’d be going back with Sheffield United because I had another year with an option left on my contract.
“But I went on holiday with my family and my mates, and basically got a call from my dad asking if I wanted to go to Bristol City, so I said ‘definitely, yes’.
“I’d been at Sheffield United since I was six but I thought it would be a great opportunity for me and I’m really happy with my decision so far.
“I always enjoyed my time there but the chance to move up a league and play football was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down – I would’ve regretted it if I did.
“John Pemberton was my youth team coach at Sheffield United. He was brilliant with me and that was another thing that made my decision easier.”
A versatile forward, De Girolamo might have joined City’s Under-21s in Belfast this week, but was delighted to get the nod from Lee Johnson to travel with the first team to La Manga instead.
“It’s a great experience to be playing with these lads,” he added. “The Under-21s are good players, but these lads are experienced and they’ve played a lot of league games.
“Watching them and what they’re doing is making me a better player. It’s also a lot hotter here than in Belfast, so I’m happy to be here!
“We’ve got two games while we’re out here so hopefully I’ll get some game time to show the gaffer and the boys what I can do, and hopefully that’ll keep me in and around the first team.”