West Ham United decided against offering Owen Otasowie a contract before the highly rated defender put pen to paper with Premier League rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers, according to the Birmingham Mail.
The phrase ‘golden generation’ is a dangerous one in international football but across the pond there’s a growing confidence this USA team is something special.
No fewer than nine members of Gregg Berhalter’s latest USMNT selection are playing Champions League football this season with Christian Pulisic, Sergino Dest, Gio Reyna and Weston McKennie strutting their stuff at the top level in Europe.
Otasowie has yet to reach those levels but the New York-born 19-year-old is rapidly making a name for himself at Wolves.
The converted midfielder was handed his senior debut by Nuno Espirito Santo during last season’s run to the Europa League quarter-finals with Lorenzo Dempster, his former coach at the Mass Elite Academy, seeing similarities between Otasowie and an £89 million World Cup winner.
“He had great athleticism. He was confident on the ball and he always wanted the ball,” Dempster remembers from his time working with the youngster.
“He never shied away from the ball and was very strong (when playing in midfield). He had good hold-up play, similar traits to (Paul) Pogba in that he knows how to protect the ball. He always played midfield for us.
“He’d always boss it and control the game.”
Interestingly, the Birmingham Mail adds Otasowie had been denied the chance to stay on at West Ham despite impressing in a new-look central defensive role in claret and blue.
It remains to be seen whether a club who have given us Declan Rice, Michael Carrick, Jermain Defoe and Joe Cole come to regret that decision.
Otasowie was handed his first call-up for the USA national team earlier in November and the next task for him is to force his way into Nuno’s first team on a more regular basis.