Justin Oboavwoduo skipped past the last ditch challenge, recovered his poise, drove into the area and slotted home.
The Manchester City starlet has made a habit of scoring goals and has transferred that to the international stage with England Under-17s. The forward is one of three Blues players in Ryan Garry’s squad for the European Championships. England face France in a quarter final on Saturday as they seek to move a step closer to glory. If they do, the spine will be a City one.
Oboavwoduo perhaps generates the most headlines as an attacker. The fluid frontman is capable of playing as a central striker or threatening from wide areas. Such is his offensive versatility that he’s at home in the number 10 role too.
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A mainstay for City’s Under-18s, he found the net at regular intervals for the Academy side this season, including an eye-catching treble against Fleetwood Town in the FA Youth Cup. His England boss Garry sees promise and potential in a player who looks destined to make the grade.
“Going forward I wouldn’t want to say what his best position is but he is a really attacking player,” Garry told the Manchester Evening News. “He’s got good technique, athletically he is very good and he is a very good attacking threat with his goals and assists.
“A big part of City’s performances and results has been because of his attacking outlet and what he has provided the team. Hopefully he continues to score goals and assists and develops into a really good player for club and country.”
Oboavwoduo joined City at just eight years old and, under the watchful eye of the Etihad staff, has developed into a fine player and person. Attitude is just as important as ability at the Premier League champions and it is no different on the international stage.
Garry wants to develop good people as well as good footballers and mould them in the image of an England player. His City trio are perfect examples. Oboavwoduo is joined in the Euro squad by midfielder Isaiah Dada-Mascoll and defender Lakyle Samuel. The latter has captained the side in all three group games while Dada-Mascoll, comfortable at centre back or in the middle of the park, has played a part in all three matches.
“All three young men off the pitch are very professional,” said Garry, himself a promising talent at Arsenal in his playing days before injury curtailed his career. “They are serious about what they do and have the dedication and hunger to be as good as they can be.
“Lakyle has had a really good year playing for City’s Under-21s, he’s probably played more for them than the Under-18s at club level and to do so at such a young age shows great consistency. He has played a lot of games and he will look back at this year and be very pleased with what he has done in terms of game time at such a big club.
“He is playing centre back for us, he can play right back as well and that versatility is really important, not just at club level but international level. He has captained our group through a few games this season and that leadership role hasn’t effected him. He is very studious and he likes watching games.
“All three are young men who are showing they have a desire to be the best they can be. It is a group of individuals that show the same behaviours and character traits coming from one club.
“There is a lot of personal development as well as football development. If we do that collectively together then it gives everybody the best chance of success.”
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