'Big future' - Irish coach excited by City defender's potential
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Irish football fans should be excited about the 'big future' ahead of Norwich City's rising star Andrew Omobamidele, according to former Republic of Ireland international Andy Reid.
The former Nottingham Forest winger was the defender's international coach at under-18 level previously and is predicting big things for the 18-year-old following his first call-up to the Ireland senior squad.
"I've seen him play three times this season for Norwich and on two out of those three times, he was the best player on the pitch," said Reid.
"He has got a big future ahead of him and we should really get excited about him."
Signed from Leixlip United in 2019, the centre-back swiftly rose through the academy ranks and signed a long-term professional contract in December ahead of his Championship debut in January.
The teen was thrust into the spotlight on Good Friday though, grasping his opportunity to impress alongside skipper Grant Hanley during a 1-1 draw at Preston after injuries to Ben Gibson and Christoph Zimmermann.
Omobamidele started City's final eight matches of the campaign and showed exciting potential as a composed presence in possession, as Daniel Farke's team wrapped up promotion and the Championship title.
He is likely to remain a part of the Canaries' squad in the Premier League initially before assessing if a loan is the best next step but his rapid rise has earned him a place in Stephen Kenny's senior Ireland squad, which is based in Barcelona this week.
Friendly games against Andorra on Thursday (5pm) and in Hungary next Tuesday could bring Omobamidele's first cap having only made one appearance at under-21 level for his country, with Canaries team-mate Adam Idah also in the squad.
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"I'm not surprised at all," Reid added of the youngster's call-up, as the Nottingham Forest U23s coach spoke to OTB Sports.
"We had him in Sweden (for an U18 tournament) with us just over 18 months ago and he was head and shoulders above everybody.
"Stephen (Kenny) asked me about him and the time we had him away, and I told him I didn't think he would have any problems with Andrew."