Bryan Keane/INPHO Andrew Omobamidele pictured at the launch of the Intersport Elverys Summer Schools at the FAI National Training Centre, Abbotstown.
# Andy you're a star
Ireland senior call-up 'a really proud moment' for Leixlip teenager Omobamidele
The 18-year-old centre-back has been reacting to his inclusion in Stephen Kenny’s squad.

THAT HE COULD soon be playing against a man he described as an idol only two years ago highlights just how much progress Andrew Omobamidele has made recently.

For the 18-year-old centre-back, the past nine weeks have included a Republic of Ireland U21 debut, a first start for Norwich City, promotion to the Premier League and inclusion in the senior international squad.

Having made eight consecutive appearances to help his club clinch the Championship title, Omobamidele has been selected by Ireland manager Stephen Kenny for the friendlies against Andorra and Hungary (3 & 8 June). 

“It’s been great. I’m just taking it step by step and trying my best to take it all in my stride,” says the youngster, who swapped Leixlip United for Norwich City in 2019.

“I have good people around me, like my mum and some of my old coaches at Leixlip United, to keep me grounded. But yeah, it’s been a great experience.”

Prior to representing Ireland at the U17 European Championships in 2019, he expressed his admiration for Virgil van Dijk, describing the Liverpool and Netherlands defender as “a good person to look up to and a good role model”.

With Norwich back in the top tier of English football for the 2021-22 season, a chance to face Van Dijk could be on the horizon for Omobamidele.

“Hopefully if that opportunity comes about to play in the Premier League, that would be surreal if we end up on the same pitch together,” he says.

norwich-city-v-reading-sky-bet-championship-carrow-road PA Omobamidele celebrates after winning the Championship with Norwich City. PA

Of his maiden call-up for Ireland, Omobamidele says: “It’s a really proud moment for me and my family – and Leixlip as a community – because we’ve worked so hard.

“Growing up there and being born and raised in Ireland, it’s a dream to play with the senior international team so it’s a very proud moment for me and my family.”

Should a debut be awarded by Stephen Kenny within the next fortnight, he’ll be keen to continue the impressive form that was displayed at the heart of a Championship-winning defence.

“Momentum in football is so important and I’ve just come off the back of a really good time with Norwich,” says Omobamidele, who was born in Dublin to an Irish mother and Nigerian father.

“After lifting the trophy, being promoted and playing seven, eight, nine games on the trot, hopefully I can take that into the [Ireland] camp and be successful there.”

Andrew Omobamidele was speaking at today’s launch of the Intersport Elverys FAI Summer Soccer Schools, which return to clubs across Ireland in July and August. For more details visit

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