“I’d play 90 minutes every week if I could!”
Andrew Omobamidele is just weeks away from becoming a Premier League defender, and based on recent performances, he’ll be getting a fair amount of minutes.
The young Kildare man was warming Norwich’s bench around six months ago, and now looks like he might be a Premier League starter in a few weeks.
Omobamidele, who is just 19 years of age, played regularly at the end of Norwich’s title-winning campaign last season (largely due to injuries suffered by more senior defenders), and is now getting some really valuable gametime in pre-season too.
Speaking after keeping a clean sheet in a friendly against Lincoln City on Tuesday night, he said that he is “cherishing every minute”.
Andrew Omobamidele on impressive pre-season form
Speaking to the Norwich website, he said: “It wasn’t perfect today but as a centre-back all you really care about is the clean sheet. It doesn’t matter if it’s a friendly, you pride yourself on clean sheets.
“We struggled a bit to find the solution in the final third, the last pass and final touches weren’t quite on it, but we got the win.
“It was a bit more competitive and aggressive [than against King’s Lynn Town] so we had to move the ball quickly.
“Going into the best league in the world, you need to be tested in pre-season so these games are perfect.”
Andrew Omobamidele ready for the Premier League
“I’m just cherishing every minute I can get,” Omobamidele said. “I’d play 90 minutes every week if I could!
“We’ve been in a lot and doing a lot of running. It’s a new challenge because it’s my first time with the first-team during pre-season.
“Recovery is so important, it’s like half your day. Train, eat, sleep, repeat. It’s as important as training.
“I knew it was going to be hard because of the step up from the Under-23s but I didn’t really know what to expect. It’s been hard running but I’m getting used to it now.”
Omobamidele also sang the praises of senior players Grant Hanley and Ben Gibson, who have helped him settle into the first team.
He said: “Gibbo and Grant are great, especially for young players, and I’m in their position, so I’m just trying to pick from each of them and get bits of experience on and off the pitch.
“It’s a great group. Anyone coming into it can settle in well. We have senior players and younger ones but the new players have settled in really well already.
“Even though it’s a friendly, we’ve won two from two now and we want to take the momentum from pre-season into the league so we’ll go into [Huddersfield on Friday] with the same mentality. We want to win games and work on stuff that needs to be worked on.”
Omobamidele signed a new contract with Norwich in 2020, that will keep the teenager with the club until the summer of 2024.