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Owen Otasowie makes full Premier League debut in Wolves’ defeat by Burnley

The American-Nigerian was handed his first start in the English top flight as the Old Gold tumbled at Turf Moor

Owen Otasowie was handed his full debut in Wolverhampton Wanderers’ 2-1 defeat to Burnley in Monday’s Premier League encounter.

The United States of America international of Nigerian descent had previously made his bow in the English top flight – coming in as a 46th minute replacement for Leander Dendoncker as Wolves secured a comeback victory against Frank Lampard’s Chelsea at the Molineux Stadium.

Against the Clarets, however, he was given the nod by manager Nuno Espirito Santo to start in the team’s midfield alongside Nelson Semedo, Joao Moutinho and Rayan Ait-Nouri.

In the process, the 19-year-old becomes the third different teen player to start for Wolves in the English elite division this term (Fabio Silva, Ait-Nouri) – the joint-most of any team in the competition, along with Liverpool.

In the tough encounter, Sean Dyche’s team claimed maximum points thanks to goals from Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood, while Silva got the visitors’ only goal from the penalty spot in the 89th minute.

Before he was substituted for Adama Traore on the hour mark, Otasowie had been cautioned by referee Lee Mason in the 45th minute.

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Born in the United States to Nigerian parents, the youngster began his youth career at Mass Elite Academy, before teaming up with West Ham United and Wolverhampton Wanderers to continue his progression.

At the Molineux, he grew through the club’s ranks – featuring in Wolves’ U18 and U23 sides. He was promoted to the first team in the 2019-20 campaign, but had to wait till this season to make his league debut.

On December 12, 2019, he made his senior debut as a substitute in Wolves’ final Europa League group match against Turkish giants Besiktas.

Otasowie received his first call up to the US senior team for games against Wales and Panama in November 2020, but he made his international bow in the 0-0 draw with Ryan Giggs’ team – coming in as an 87th minute replacement for Sebastian Lletget.

Following Fifa’s latest ruling, the midfielder can switch international allegiance to Nigeria. The rule allows a player to change nationality as long as they have only featured in three international fixtures, including qualifiers – but not tournaments like the World Cup.

Also, such player must have been less than 21 years of age at the time of playing and can only switch after three years of no international activity.

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