Offiah: We're all trying to impress De Zerbi

19-year-old defender hopes performances will earn him and his teammates more first-team chances.

By Matt Bishop • 08 October 2022

By Paul Hazlewood
Offiah made his first team debut last season and has trained with the senior squad this term.

Odel Offiah is hoping Albion’s form in Premier League 2 can earn the under-21 players more first-team opportunities as they prepare to face Manchester United today, kick-off 1pm. 

The 19-year-old was part of the side who thrashed Spurs 4-0 last Friday in Shannon Ruth’s first game as head coach, and the defender hopes more performances like that will put him and his teammates in Roberto De Zerbi’s plans. 

“I’ve had a few sessions with the first team since the new head coach has come in and they’ve been a great experience for me,” said Offiah.  

“It’s exciting and everyone is trying to impress. The aim in our group is always to gain more first-team opportunities and the better our form is in Premier League 2 the more opportunities everyone gets.”

Albion’s trip to Manchester gives Ruth’s team the perfect chance to impress against a side currently languishing 12th in PL2 with just one win in their last five games. 

“Our performances have been good this season and it all came together against Spurs – you can’t complain when you score four goals and keep a clean sheet,” said Offiah. 

“We have some momentum now and just want to back it up. The boys played well at Gillingham [in the Papa Johns Trophy] so we’ve got a lot to build on.” 

That game against the Gills came during Ruth’s second full week in charge, and despite a narrow 3-2 defeat against the League Two team, Albion played well and Offiah believes that’s a sign of the side developing well under their new boss.

“We’re used to Shannon and his style as he’s been a coach for a long time and he did great work alongside [Andrew] Crofts,” said Offiah. “It’s been a fluid transition, our style hasn’t changed and the aim is to keep performing well and to get wins. 

“Shannon is always talking and joking with us, but he’s also great with advice. You feel comfortable around him and we want to win for him. Hopefully we can keep doing that this season.”