Darren O'Dea praises England youth goalkeeper; hopes for Joe Hart influence

By Euan Davidson

November 11, 2021

Celtic B Team coach Darren O’Dea believes there’s much more recognition on the way for England youth goalkeeper Tobi Oluwayemi.

Oluwayemi, who came to Celtic from Tottenham Hotspur’s Academy in 2019, starred for England U19s last night against Andorra [UEFA]. That added to an excellent week for the youngster, who has named on the bench for Celtic against Ferencvaros.

Celtic now have a former England international in Joe Hart between the sticks, and O’Dea hopes that the 34-year-old will have a sizeable influence on Oluwayemi’s career.

Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images

O’Dea said [Celtic FC]:

“Tobi is doing really well. He came in a couple of years ago and has taken time to adjust to obviously, a new style of football, but more importantly a new life.

“I saw Tobi off the back end of last season with the Under-18s. There was a marked improvement in him, and he’s in a really good place at the minute.

“That’s obviously been reflected with recognition he’s had in the first team. I’d imagine that recognition will keep coming if he keeps his feet on the ground and keeps working the way he is at the minute.

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“I hope he gets to work with Joe Hart, because there’s a fantastic example to all the young goalkeepers here, of a brilliant professional. I think he’s older than me and still going strong!

“Tobi’s chance will come, I’m sure of it. But that’s down to Tobi at the minute, but he’s doing very well.”

The Celtic structure around England youth goalkeeper Tobi Oluwayemi, with Darren O’Dea and Joe Hart, will only help

It’s good enough that Tobi Oluwayemi is getting England youth international experience. Being amongst the next generation of talents for the Three Lions will only help his development.

But so will the structure at Celtic. Oluwayemi had to have been sold on a vision at the club, and the prospect of first-team football when the time was right.

That’s probably still a long way off.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

However, with Vasilis Barkas and Scott Bain surely leaving Celtic before long, there’s every chance Oluwayemi can break into the squad for Cup games in the future.

His potential is exciting, that’s for sure. And with great coaches in Darren O’Dea and Tommy McIntyre, with Stevie Woods and Joe Hart at Lennoxtown too, the structure is there for him to succeed long-term.

Here’s hoping he enjoys a fruitful career at Celtic Park.

Read more: Chris Sutton on the Celtic player he has sympathy for