Joshua Christian Kojo "Josh" King (born 15 January 1992) is a Norwegian professional footballer who plays as a striker or a winger for Premier League club Bournemouth and the Norway national team.
King was signed by Manchester United from Vålerenga in 2008. After loan spells with Preston North End, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Hull City and Blackburn Rovers, he signed permanently with Blackburn in January 2013. He switched to Bournemouth in May 2015.
After representing Norway at under-15, under-16, under-18, under-19 and under-21 levels, King made his senior international debut against Iceland in 2012, and scored his first international goal against Cyprus later that year.
Born in Oslo, to a Gambian father and a Norwegian mother, King grew up in the suburb of Romsås. He began his career with the local club, Romsås IL, before switching to Vålerenga when he was 15. While at Vålerenga, King trained with English side Manchester United on multiple occasions, but UEFA rules prevented him from signing a contract with the club until he was 16. He also had trial offers from Chelsea, Sunderland and Ipswich Town, but rejected those in favour of Manchester United.
King signed for Manchester United when he turned 16 in January 2008, and made his debut for the under-18 side in a 5–1 home defeat to Sunderland on 29 March 2008. He played just once more in the league that season, as well as making five substitute appearances in the Blue Stars Youth Cup in May 2008. He began the following season by scoring four goals in four matches as the Manchester United Under-17s won the 2008 Milk Cup. He then played in two matches at the start of the 2008–09 Premier Academy League season before an injury in October 2008 kept him out until January 2009.
Two games after his comeback, King scored twice in a 5–0 win over Bolton Wanderers on 31 January 2009. The following week, he was named as an unused substitute for the reserves in a Manchester Senior Cup match against Stockport County, before making his reserve debut as a substitute for Robbie Brady in a Premier Reserve League match against Bolton Wanderers three days later. He then made his first start of the season for the Under-18s against Manchester City on 14 February, only to miss the next two months of the season. He returned at the start of April 2009, just in time to play in the run-in to the end of the Under-18 league season, as United finished in second place, 19 points behind winners Manchester City.
At the start of the 2009–10 season, King came on as a substitute for Zoran Tošić in the final of the Lancashire Senior Cup, a 1–0 win over Bolton Wanderers. He then started the reserves' first three league games of the season, and was rewarded for his performances by being given a place on the bench for the first team's League Cup third round match against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 23 September 2009. He was given the number 41 jersey and came on as an 81st-minute substitute for goalscorer Danny Welbeck. Although King had two opportunities to add to United's lead, the match finished 1–0 and United progressed to the fourth round of the competition. He was again named as a substitute for the fourth round match against Barnsley, but he did not take to the field. King was an integral part of the under-18s side for the remainder of the season, scoring six goals in 14 appearances as the team won Group C of the 2009–10 Premier Academy League; they were drawn against Arsenal in the play-off semi-finals, and although King scored his penalty in the shoot-out after the match finished in a 1–1 draw, Arsenal ultimately won 5–3.
Preston North End loan
After impressing for Manchester United in the 2010–11 pre-season, King joined Football League Championship side Preston North End – managed by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson's son, Darren – on a three-month loan deal on 7 August 2010, becoming Preston's 1,000th player and linking up with fellow United loanee Matty James. He made his debut the next day, coming on as a 70th-minute substitute for Paul Hayes in Preston's 2–0 defeat by Doncaster Rovers on the opening day of the 2010–11 season.
King's first goal for Preston came in his second match, a League Cup first round tie against Stockport County on 10 August; after coming on as a 72nd-minute substitute for Chris Brown, he intercepted a goal kick from Andy Lonergan and curled the ball past the Stockport goalkeeper, making the final score 5–0. He had earlier added an assist after running 60 yards down the right wing and crossing for Paul Hayes' second goal – the fourth of the match. King made his first start for Preston on 21 August, playing the full 90 minutes of the team's 1–0 home win over Portsmouth; King was named man of the match for his performance, in which he repeatedly threatened the Portsmouth goal.
King played in seven of Preston's first 12 league games, but suffered an ankle injury at the end of October 2010 that ruled him out for the rest of the loan, and he returned to Manchester United. After his recovery towards the end of November, King returned to Preston on another loan until 4 January 2011; however, he made just one more appearance for the club before being recalled by Manchester United a few days early. Some sources suggested that Alex Ferguson recalled King and fellow loanees Matty James and Ritchie De Laet in retaliation for Preston sacking his son, Darren, but Ferguson later indicated that King and De Laet had not enjoyed their time at Preston and did not want to return to the club.
Return to Manchester United
After his return to Manchester United, King was a regular in the reserve team, playing in 17 of the last 18 games of the season; his only absence came against Arsenal on 28 April 2011. He was also regularly on the scoresheet, particularly in the Manchester Senior Cup, in which he scored twice in an 8–0 win over Bury and three times in a 6–1 win over Rochdale. He also hit two against Oldham Athletic in the quarter-finals of the Lancashire Senior Cup and against Chelsea in the Premier Reserve League to finish the season with 11 goals as the team won the Manchester Senior Cup and the Premier Reserve League North.
In among these performances, King was also named on the bench for three first-team matches, including Manchester United's 4–0 away league win over Wigan Athletic and their FA Cup wins over Crawley Town and Arsenal, as well as travelling with the team for the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie with Marseille. In recognition of his performances in the second half of the season, King was rewarded with a new two-year contract with Manchester United, keeping him at the club until the summer of 2013.
Borussia Mönchengladbach loan
In August 2011, King joined German club Borussia Mönchengladbach on loan for the duration of the 2011–12 season. The loan agreement between Borussia and Manchester United was first announced by Borussia's director of sport, Max Eberl, at the club's general meeting on 29 May 2011, but the move was held up when King suffered a groin injury requiring surgery while on international duty with the Norway Under-21 side. Borussia confirmed the loan transfer on 22 July 2011, the terms of which were undisclosed by either club, although it was still subject to King passing a medical examination on 1 August. He began individual training with Borussia on 2 August, before linking up with the rest of the squad shortly afterwards. King made his first appearance for Borussia Mönchengladbach as a substitute on 19 August 2011, in Borussia's 4–1 win against VfL Wolfsburg. After just one more substitute appearance and a total of 19 minutes on the field, a recurrence of King's groin injury resulted in his loan spell being terminated early.
Hull City loan
Having returned to England, King joined Hull City on loan for the rest of the 2011–12 season on 16 January 2012. He made his debut as an 86th-minute substitute for Liam Rosenior in a 1–0 away win at Reading on 21 January. King played in four consecutive matches at the start of his spell at Hull, but on 9 February 2012, he appeared for the Manchester United reserves in their 4–2 Manchester Senior Cup defeat at home to Manchester City; he played for 61 minutes of the match before being replaced by Reece Brown. It took until 9 April for King to score his first goal for Hull, scoring the equaliser as Hull came from behind to beat Middlesbrough 2–1; King also provided the assist for Matty Fryatt's winning goal.
King returned to Manchester United on 1 May and went straight back into the reserve team for their Lancashire Senior Cup semi-final against Blackpool; Manchester United won 5–4 on penalties after neither side could produce a goal in normal time, with King scoring United's first penalty. Another penalty shoot-out followed in King's next match for the reserves, the Premier Reserve League play-off match against the winners of the south section, Aston Villa; after coming on as a substitute for captain Davide Petrucci, King was one of three scorers for Manchester United in the shoot-out as they won 3–1 to take the title.
At the start of the 2012–13 season, King found himself a regular in the Manchester United reserve team, and scored the team's last goal in the 90th minute of their 4–0 win over Accrington Stanley in the final of the Lancashire Senior Cup on 8 August 2012. However, despite playing in seven of the reserves' first nine games of the season, he was unable to make the step up to the first team – he was an unused substitute in the League Cup third round match against Newcastle United on 26 September, and came on as a substitute for Danny Welbeck in the 85th minute of the dead rubber Champions League group match against Galatasaray on 20 November.
In search of first-team football, King was allowed to join Blackburn Rovers on loan until 31 December 2012, with a view to eventually making the move permanent. Despite competition up front from Jordan Rhodes, Colin Kazim-Richards, Ruben Rochina and Nuno Gomes, he made his debut two days later, coming on as a 55th-minute substitute for Marcus Olsson in a 2–0 defeat at home to Millwall. He scored his first goal for the club at home to Cardiff City on 7 December, an equaliser after Mark Hudson had put Cardiff in front; however, Cardiff scored a further three goals and won 4–1. After scoring two goals in eight appearances, King's transfer to Blackburn was made permanent as he signed a two-and-a-half-year contract on 2 January 2013, with the option of extending the deal by a further year. In an FA Cup match against Derby County on 26 January, he was forced to come off with a hamstring injury; he had also missed the three games prior to that with the same injury. He went on to make a total of 20 appearances for Blackburn that season.
His first goal of the 2013–14 season came on 24 August in Blackburn's 5–2 victory over Barnsley, where he converted a Todd Kane pass into a goal from six yards out. On 14 February 2015, King scored his first Rovers hat trick in a 4–1 win against Stoke City in the FA Cup 5th round. He did not net any other goals that season.
On 28 May 2015, after turning down a new contract at Blackburn, King switched to Bournemouth ahead of their first-ever season in the Premier League. He credited the ethos of manager Eddie Howe and the opportunity to be a top-flight regular as his reasons to sign. He made his debut for Bournemouth on 8 August as they began the season with a 0–1 home defeat against Aston Villa. King's first goal for the Cherries came on 21 November, when he opened a 2–2 draw at Swansea City; on 12 December he scored the winning goal from a corner kick routine as Bournemouth beat his former club United 2–1 at Dean Court. Contrary to the common courtesy, he enthusiastically celebrated his goal against his former employers, and later told the Daily Mail that manager Alex Ferguson refused to speak to him or any of the other young players at the time. King finished the season as Bournemouth's top scorer, scoring seven times in all competitions, with six of those coming in the Premier League.
After representing Norway at youth international level, Egil Olsen called up King to Norway's squad for two World Cup qualifiers in September 2012. He made his debut against Iceland on 7 September 2012, when he replaced Mohammed Abdellaoue after 65 minutes. King had the ball in the back of the net eight minutes later, but the goal was disallowed. Four days later in Norway's next match, he replaced Abdellaoue at half time against Slovenia. King replaced Alexander Søderlund as a substitute at half time against Cyprus in Larnaca on 16 October 2012, then won a penalty and scored the last goal in Norway's 3–1 victory.
He was included in the Norwegian squad for the 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship, but as he was a regular member of the senior squad he had to play the World Cup qualifying match against Albania, along with his under-21 teammates Valon Berisha, Håvard Nordtveit and Markus Henriksen before they traveled to the championship in Israel. King appeared in the under-21 team's matches against Italy U-21 and Spain U-21 during the championship.
He scored his second full international goal in his next appearance, scoring the second goal in a 2–0 victory over Cyprus on 6 September 2013. On 10 October 2014, he scored two goals against Malta in a 3–0 away win in UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying, but was dropped by manager Per-Mathias Høgmo from their play-off against Hungary in place of Veton Berisha, Marcus Pedersen and Alexander Søderlund.
- As of 5 January 2017.
|Preston North End (loan)||2010–11||8||0||0||0||2||1||–||–||10||1|
|Borussia Mönchengladbach (loan)||2011–12||2||0||0||0||–||–||–||2||0|
|Hull City (loan)||2011–12||18||1||1||0||0||0||–||–||19||1|
|Blackburn Rovers (loan)||2012–13||8||2||0||0||–||–||–||8||2|
- As of match played on 11 November 2016