Wolves captain Conor Coady and manager Nuno Espirito Santo were both impressed with Premier League debutant Owen Otasowie on Tuesday.
The 19-year-old USMNT player entered the game at halftime and impressed at central midfield, winning an assist on Daniel Podence’s goal to level the game at one en route to Wolves’ 2-1 win over Chelsea at the Molineux.
Otasowie had two key passes on 30 touches in 45 minutes and could’ve scored had a pass not been sent behind him. He made a three-minute USMNT debut last month versus Wales and has only one other senior appearance: 17 minutes at the end of Wolves’ Europa League home blowout of Besiktas last season.
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So 45 minutes against Chelsea is not a small stage.
The teenager had four interceptions, two tackles, and a blocked shot in addition to his assist. Coady was impressed.
“The confidence he showed is fantastic, stepping out with the ball, showing how powerful he is,” Coady said on Wolves’ YouTube channel. “He’s a great lad, you see him improving every day in training, which he does all the time now. He gets on with his business, gets on with trying to get better. It’s fantastic to see him out there. Over the years we’ve played quite a lot of young lads and he’s the next one. He kept his shape, it’s not an easy game to come onto. …. I think he was getting annoyed with me because I kept going up to him to tell him to stay inside and he wants to go get the ball.”
Espirito Santo said Otawosie “did well,” branding the physical teen “a project we have to work on and try to develop.”
The Wolves boss was thrilled to see Wolves respond from a last-gasp loss to Aston Villa.
“We were always in the game,” said Espirito Santo, via the BBC. “We were well organized. In the second half we played really good football. … It’s a strange season. We miss our fans today. There are too many voices around the referee and technical staff. Too bad the fans are not here to celebrate with us.”
Coady, never at a loss for words, said the club needed the win.
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He was looking to a higher power when Pedro Neto bagged the stoppage time winner.
“It was needed,” Coady said. “You’re just praying for him to score, honestly, just a bit of magic to put it in the bottom corner like he did. There’s no better feeling than coming back from 1-0 down. The lads kept on going. Bit of a basketball match at the end which you don’t want to do but we dealt with it.”