Chelsea starlet loves debut with Daggers

ON-LOAN Chelsea defender Nana Ofori-Twumasi admitted his Football League debut was something of a shock when he turned out for Dagenham & Redbridge at Accrington Stanley on Saturday.

by MIKE SIMMONDS

ON-LOAN Chelsea defender Nana Ofori-Twumasi admitted his Football League debut was something of a shock when he turned out for Dagenham & Redbridge at Accrington Stanley on Saturday.

The 19-year-old, who has been at Stamford Bridge for seven years and featured in two youth World Cups for England during that time, was thrust into action at a wet and windy Crown Ground.

In a much-changed Daggers defence, Ofori-Twumasi played his part in helping keep a clean sheet as his new team picked up a crucial 1-0 win.


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"It was quite a shock," he laughed.

Waterlogged

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"I'm used to playing at one of the best facilities in the whole world, but when I went there and looked at the pitch, some of the parts were waterlogged!

"We had to put long studs on, but it's an experience I am willing to take and I think it will do me good in the future."

The change in surroundings didn't finish there either for Ofori-Twumasi, as he explained the difference between a club like Chelsea and Daggers.

"When I came here, I see things like you have to take your training kit home and wash it, whereas at Chelsea everything is laid out and washed for you," he said. "Coming here and seeing that opens your eyes and makes me appreciate things more."

No matter what standard you are playing at though, the feeling of winning remains the same, and that is something the youngster is determined to experience in his month at Victoria Road.

"When you play in the reserve team, if you finish bottom, you still don't get relegated," said the full back, who has featured in Chelsea's reserves with the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Ross Turnbull and Jeffrey Bruma.

"When you come on loan, you're giving everything for each point. Everyone is behind you, it drives you on and you do more for the team to try and win.

"I really want a taste of first team football where you're under pressure to perform, with a crowd behind you that are passionate about the team.

"I'm sure this move will be a good opportunity for me to experience that."

It appears that Ofori-Twumasi is already revelling in his first prolonged spell away from the Blues as he has been greeted by Daggers with open arms.

"They're a great bunch of lads here," he smiled. "When I arrived, everyone made me feel welcome, and I'm really enjoying myself at the moment.

Smiling

"When you come into training and see everyone's faces are smiling and they are saying hello to you, it's really good.

"Sometimes at clubs you don't always get that when new players come in, but these guys have made me feel comfortable and it's made things easy for me."

Manager John Still is a big part of that too, as the boss downloaded a DVD of the full back's first-ever match on to his laptop during the coach journey home, an act that has already endeared him to the Chelsea man.

"It was my debut and he wanted to give me a disc to copy as he knew it meant a lot to me and it shows the kind of man he is," said the teenager.

"The first day I came here, he was out at the gate waiting for me and it made me feel welcome.

"He didn't get his assistant to do it, so as soon as I saw that, it made me feel like he really wants me here.

"It put me in a confident mood straight away, as I met him and he showed me round the ground. He's made things easy for me, made me feel welcome and I've really enjoyed it."

It wasn't just the conditions that Ofori-Twumasi had to adapt too at Accrington on Saturday, the high-octane style of play that Daggers employ is worlds apart to what he had been used to in Chelsea's second string.

"We're used to getting ball the down and playing it out from the back," he admitted. "In my first game, it was all about getting it forward, the keeper gets the ball and gets it forward and it's all about winning second balls."

Premiership

"It's another side of the game that you need to learn, as it's not always going to be life in the Premiership.

"It's a good experience for me and if I can adapt to it, I can show my football skills and learn from it."

The second game of the full back's career should come this weekend, when third-placed Rochdale visit Victoria Road, but with Abu Ogogo available from suspension, Ofori-Twumasi isn't taking anything for granted.

"I'm coming here to play, the first game I've started, but that doesn't mean I'm going to play the next game," he said. "I need to impress the manager at training and hopefully I can do that and be starting in my time here.

"I wouldn't mind staying for the rest of season, but whatever happens, happens and we'll see after the month."

If you would like to comment on this story, email: mike.simmonds@archant.co.uk

The Post is now on Twitter, so if you follow twitter.com/Post_DagRed then you will get up to the minute updates on goings on at Victoria Road.

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