Dynel Simeu, who last night became Carlisle United's fourth signing of the January transfer window, is an ambitious "leader", according to his team-mates.

The young centre-half has made the long trip north from Southampton in a bid for first-team football.

Simeu, 19, has shown his leadership experience in the past, having captained Chelsea's Under-23s.

And the big defender won't be shy in stepping forward for the Cumbrians, judging by his track record.

Simeu's characteristics were explained by Southampton star Tino Livramento, who played alongside Simeu at Chelsea.

Spekaing on a Saints video, Livramento said of Simeu: "When he joined Chelsea, everyone was looking at him, with the size of him, and [feeling] a bit intimidated, but when you get to know him he's such a down-to-earth and nice guy.

"On the pitch he leads by example -he's a talker."

Simeu was born in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, but moved to England in childhood and grew up in the Southampton area.

He did not play for the Saints initially and was snapped up by Chelsea's academy aged 12.

He made his way through the youth ranks at Stamford Bridge and, in 2020, helped the club's Under-23s win Premier League 2.

Simeu made seven appearances in the title season - his team-mates including Scotland star Billy Gilmour - and went on to play 22 more times for Andy Myers' devlopment team the following campaign, captaining the team.

"I felt honoured to be seen as captain so soon," he said. "I took it in my stride."

News and Star: Simeu prepares to lead Chelsea U21s out for an EFL Trophy game at Bristol Rovers in 2020 (photo: PA)Simeu prepares to lead Chelsea U21s out for an EFL Trophy game at Bristol Rovers in 2020 (photo: PA)

During his time at Chelsea, Simeu also picked up England international honours.

He featured for the Under-17s under Steve Cooper, first in a 3-1 defeat against the Republic of Ireland in 2018, when his team-mates included Manchester City's Cumbrian goalkeeper James Trafford.

Simeu also played for the Under-17s against Germany, France and Hungary.

Further outings came for Ian Cooper's England Under-18s, his first appearance coming in a 3-2 friendly win against Australia.

A string of further appearances in 2019 saw Simeu in the same side as another young Cumbrian - Newcastle United midfielder Joe White - for games against Norway and the Czech Republic, while he has also been involved with the Under-19s.

A major step in his time at Chelsea came when Simeu was named on the subs bench by manager Frank Lampard for a Champions League last-16 tie in August 2020.

That saw the defender join stars like Olivier Giroud and Antonio Rudiger in reserve for the London club.

Simeu also represented Chelsea's Under-21s in the EFL trophy, his four appearanecs including a goal against Walsall last season.

The summer of 2021 then saw Southampton pay a reported £1.5m to bring him back to the south coast, since when Simeu has edged closer to first-team involvement at St Mary's.

Speaking about his move, he said: "There was a bit of speculation for a whle, and my friends kept asking me but I couldn't say much.

"Being able to come back home [is great]. I didn't play for Southampton when I was younger, but growing up here [means] it's close to my heart."

Simeu, since then, has played for Saints' B team - making two Under-21 outings in the Papa John's Trophy this season - and has often trained with the first-team squad.

News and Star: Simeu, left, in action for Southampton U21s against Charlton in the Papa John's Trophy (photo: PA)Simeu, left, in action for Southampton U21s against Charlton in the Papa John's Trophy (photo: PA)

He has been named on the bench by boss Ralph Hasenhuttl for three Premier League games and an FA Cup fixture in recent weeks.

He now makes the trip to Cumbria to bolster Carlisle's defensive options - and to try and launch his first-team career.

"Every day I [want to] keep knocking on the gaffer's door and giving him a problem," Simeu added.

"Patience is a big thing but I'm not limiting myself."