Ireland u21 international Andrew Omobamidele excelling at Norwich City

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The Leixlip native started his side’s last two games, including a 7-0 win over Huddersfield Town.

Despite current struggles surrounding the Ireland national team leaving fans demoralised and pessimistic, there is hope for the future.

A number of young, talented footballers have been eased into the senior squad over the past year or so. Adam Idah, Troy Parrott, Jason Knight and more recently, Gavin Bazunu, are just some examples of those who’ve donned the green jersey lately, despite their young age.

Those players aren’t the only Irish footballers demonstrating high levels of potential, though. There are several bubbling just under the senior side whose aspirations of international recognition may be a case of sooner rather than later.

One of those is Norwich City centre-back Andrew Omobamidele.

The 18-year-old has enjoyed a phenomenal rise over the past week. He started his first game in a Canaries’ shirt last Friday against Preston North End and impressed to such an extent that he was awarded man of the match. Key to his contribution was a brave double-block in the opening minutes of the match to keep the score level.

Clearly dazzled by his performance, Norwich manager Daniel Farke kept Omobamidele in the starting XI for their game against Huddersfield Town on Tuesday. Norwich went onto dominate the game and win by a massive margin, 7-0 to be exact. Because of this, Omobamidele wasn’t tested to the extent he was in the previous game. That said though, he did everything that was asked of him to a very high standard and displayed his quality on the ball, looking like a seasoned pro throughout.

His performances have (naturally) got Norwich City and Ireland supporters very excited about his potential.

There’s every chance the Leixlip native could become a Premier League regular next season. Although it’s yet to be officially confirmed, it would take a complete disaster for Norwich to not achieve promotion this season. The Canaries are top of the Championship table, 8 points ahead of their nearest rivals in Watford and 17 points ahead of the play-off places with just a handful of games remaining.

Of course, it’s not a given that Omobamidele would retain his place in the Premier League – or even for the remainder of this season. But, it also wouldn’t be a surprise.

He can take inspiration from fellow centre-back and countryman Dara O’Shea. The 22-year-old only came into the West Bromwich Albion starting XI half-way through last season and helped his side achieve promotion to the Premier League. Since the start of the season, O’Shea has established himself as a key member of both the West Brom and Ireland senior squads.

Norwich’s next fixture comes against Wayne Rooney’s Derby County tomorrow where he could come face-to-face with Jason Knight and Louise Watson – the latter was included in the Ireland u21 side with Omobamidele over the international break.

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