Offiah: I am much better thanks to first team opportunity

Defender hopes his experiences in first-team squad can benefit under-21 teammates as well.

By Charlie Hanson • 13 January 2023

By Paul Hazlewood
Odel Offiah has made seven Premier League 2 appearances so far this season.

Odel Offiah has tried to pass on everything he learnt during his time with the first team onto his under-21s teammates.

The 20-year-old had a long spell with the first team squad last season that culminated when he made his full debut a year ago this month in the Emirates FA Cup third round win over West Brom.

“It was great to the get that opportunity, but I think since then I have become miles better,” he said. “As a young player you have to work as hard as you can when you’re with the first team.

“You learn a lot from the senior pros and then when you play for the under-21s you try and put into practice what you’ve learnt and you feel a lot more confident.

By Paul Hazlewood
His full senior debut came in last season's Emirates FA Cup, a 2-1 win against West Brom.

“You try to share everything so everyone can improve. Hopefully it helps my teammates if they get the opportunity to train with them and it helps to creates a good environment.”

The defender says one aspect of his game which has improved more than anything is how he communicates on the pitch.

“That has come on a lot – helping out players, talking to them as much as possible. I wasn’t the best at communication before.

“All the players in the first team are constantly talking to each other. The senior pros like Adam Lallana, Pascal Gross and Lewis Dunk speak a lot to the young players, giving them guidance.”

By Paul Hazlewood
The 20-year-old has made three first team appearances.

The under-21s are in Premier League 2 action on Saturday when they head to Manchester City. They’ll be looking to bounce back from two consecutive defeats, having previously been on a 12-game unbeaten run against other academy sides.

“Obviously we were disappointed to lose to Crystal Palace last weekend but generally the group is really positive and prior to that we had some good results.

“There’s a good vibe and energy. Everyone is trying to make the team better, fighting for their starting place and we all want to win.”