Offiah: Academy approach helped on my Premier League debut

Academy graduate made first Premier League appearance in April.

By Charlie Hanson • 11 May 2023

By Paul Hazlewood
Odel Offiah came on for his Premier League debut against Nottingham Forest.

Odel Offiah says the way the academy teams play was the perfect preparation for his Premier League bow.

The 20-year-old came on against Nottingham Forest last month, having joined our academy in 2017.

“I’ve had to play in a similar way to the one that Roberto [De Zerbi] wants since I joined the academy. We’ve always tried to play out from the back and soak up the pressure.

“Being in the academy for a long time has set me up for that. Of course, it’s a little bit different in the Premier League, but the similar style allowed me to transition into the team a little easier.”

By Paul Hazlewood
The 20-year-old had previously featured in the Emirates FA Cup and the Carabao Cup for Albion.

The defender couldn’t quite believe he got the shout down the touchline at the City Ground to come on from Andrew Crofts, but was keen to ensure he made the right impact.

“I had to relax myself as you get nervous, but I wanted to concentrate so I could take on the instructions they were giving me, so I could make a good impression and try and have the impact they want you to have.

“It’s a moment nobody can ever take away from me. It would have been great to have won, but it’s something that I will cherish regardless of the result.”

Offiah now wants to try and push for another opportunity in De Zerbi’s team.

By Paul Hazlewood
Odel Offiah featured 13 times in Premier League during the 2022/23 season.

“It was a dream come true. Every kid growing up wants to play in the Premier League, so to actually play in it – I have to pinch myself. Now I have to work hard and try and make more appearances.

“My family weren’t there, they were watching the game on TV and they were just as surprised as me that I came on! But they were happy, all the hard work and sacrifices we’ve made for me to get that chance has paid off. They were so excited, I am happy I was able to make them proud.

"Now it’s about how many appearances I can make. I am pushing to be involved again. I am trying my best, working hard to impress every day. That’s all I can do, that’s what is in my power and what the head coach decides is his call.”