Nathaniel Nwosu: 16-year-old goalkeeper who's already a full Nigeria international - Wonderkid Profile
It’s pretty unheard of for a 16-year-old to be a full international for his country.
It’s even rarer for a goalkeeper of that age to already have a senior cap to his name.
Nathaniel Nwosu won’t be a name that many football fans will be familiar with but he’s emerging as one of the most promising goalkeepers in the whole of Africa having made his senior international debut for Nigeria earlier this month.
Nwosu came off the bench for the final 13 minutes of Nigeria’s 2-0 international friendly defeat to Costa Rica on 10 November, keeping the Central Americans at bay in his time on the pitch ahead of them jetting off to Qatar for the World Cup.
When Salisu Yusuf opted to send Nwosu off the bench to replace Kayode Bankole, he was 16 years and 10 months old, an unprecedented age for a goalkeeper to get a shot at a senior international cap.
Nwosu currently plays for Water FC, an academy based in the Nigerian capital of Abuja.
He’s physically blessed, standing at a towering 6ft 4in tall and idolises former Chelsea and Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech.
Before his call-up to the Nigeria senior side to play that game against Costa Rica, Nwosu was regularly playing for his country’s Under-20s – still an incredible achievement for his tender age and the fact he’s yet to join a professional club.
Earlier this year, he represented the Flying Eagles as the U20 WAFU Cup, which is an international tournament involving young players from countries in West Africa.
Nigerian journalist Adepoju Tobi Samuel reported on May 19 that Nwosu was “one of the revelations” of the tournament, adding: “The [goalkeeper] has been incredible, his confidence level is top-notch.”
As is the case with all up-and-coming wonderkids, it remains to be seen what the future holds for them.
Nwosu will turn 17 in early January and eyes from across the globe are bound to home in on the Nigerian starlet.
Obviously, he won’t stay at the Water FC academy forever and, at the very least, a move to a top-flight club in Nigeria, the Nigeria Professional Football League, is bound to be on the cards.
In other Football Wonderkids news, we can exclusively reveal that Kinetic Academy sensation Andre Gray is set for a trial with Sheffield United.