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International: British-Born Goalie Goodman Commits Future To Nigeria

Super Eagles goalkeeping challenge may soon be over with the emergence of young Crystal Palace goalkeeper, Owen Olamidayo Goodman, who has committed his international future to Nigeria, despite being eligible to play for England and Canada as well.

The 18-year-old Crystal Palace shot stopper has a British father and a Nigerian mother.

Internationally, he has been capped by England’s U-18s, and rose through Palace academy, becoming a reliable keeper for Paddy McCarthy’s U-18 side.

Goodman’s performances have seen him graduate from the academy to the club’s first team this season.

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Despite being spoilt for choice on who to represent at full international level, Goodman didn’t mince words in choosing Nigeria.

“I will be glad to play for my country (Nigeria). If I get the opportunity I will grab it,” he said.

“(But) whoever calls me first, I will honour the invite.”

Goodman made 19 league appearances for Palace U-18s during the 2021/22 campaign, keeping six clean sheets.

An athletic, imposing goalkeeper raised in Canada, Goodman has stepped up to top level between the sticks and competed with the first-team in summer 2022’s pre-season.

The youngster was on the bench as Palace beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 at home in the Premier League on Tuesday.

He appears a young goalkeeper with a clear head and directions opened up on how he’ll arrive at a decision.

When pushed further on the possibility of Nigeria, Owen gave an emphatic answer.

“I will be glad to play for my country (Nigeria) if I get the opportunity I will grab it”.

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There’s a catch for Owen as his connection with a Nigerian legend through a chanced meeting way back in Canada.

“My family has a good relationship with Kanu Nwankwo when he came to Canada. My mum struck up a conversation, introduced me. We talked about Nigeria and our football history. I want to be a part of this in the future”.

Meanwhile, Owen’s situation bears semblance to how Ola Aina, a Nigerian defender reached a decision for his international future.

Aina while still at Chelsea in 2017 revealed that former Super Eagles captain, Mikel Obi help make the decision easy.

“The one person that I would say has been an influence to me a little bit is John Obi Mikel,” Aina told Goal. “I was first talking to him three years ago about it [playing for Nigeria]. Last season, the season before and the season before that. Aina to Goal in 2017.

Owen signed his first professional contract in July, and he’ll be hoping to get more senior games under his belt.

He is currently shuttling between the U18s and U23 of Crystal Palace and his major plan is to steady the ship this season before a major push for senior appearances next season.

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