Former youth team-mate of Welbeck and Sturridge now playing alongside Bebe in Portugal

Reebok Bolton

Tope Obadeyi decided to join Rio Ave last summer and is now playing alongside Manchester United youngster Bebe as the side chase European football.

Manchester United recently sent their big money flop Bebe out on loan to his homeland with Portuguese outfit Rio Ave in a deal that has so far been very successful for the young talent. During his time at Rio Ave he has managed to score 2 goals in his 8 appearances for the side and helped keep them in the hunt for a European qualification opportunity.

Rio Ave have certainly been having a great season; benefitting from the poor form of perennial high-flyers Sporting Lisbon to put themselves in a real shout of qualifying for the Europa League next season.

Their young manager Nuno has been instrumental in their success turning them from relegation fodder into genuine contenders in less than a year in charge and while Bebe is one name recognisable to English football fans there is one other who could also ring a bell among some fans.

That player is Tope Obadeyi and other than being a mean loan signing on FIFA 10 he is of course a former Bolton Wanderers footballer.

The 6ft 3ins tall striker is a powerful forward who during his time at Bolton took in loan spells at various different clubs such as Swindon Town, Rochdale and Shrewsbury Town.

He was in the youth system of Coventry City with Daniel Sturridge as a youngster and the pair were in fact strike partners together at primary school in Birmingham. He signed on with Bolton in 2006 but only ever featured in three league games for The Trotters and after relegation last season he was a consequence of cost-cutting measures and allowed to leave on a free transfer.

In the summer he received many an offer from England but decided to do what not many English youngsters do; and make the switch abroad with Rio Ave.

Despite the obvious difficulties of learning a new language he is certainly earning more first-team appearances now than he ever would have in England.

A former England youth international along with Sturridge and Welbeck with a fierce goalscoring record on that scene he has yet to score for Rio Ave in the league but did find the net in a 3-0 cup win against Sporting Lisbon last December.

Now he will be hoping to kick on and along with Bebe help Rio Ave achieve their European dream this season.

Here is his goal and assist against Sporting…

image: © Matthew Wilkinson

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