Blackpool’s Bright Osayi-Samuel has been named the EFL Young Player of the Month for March.Osayi-Samuel has been key in helping his side move into the Sky Bet League Two play-off positions heading into the final game of the season.
Since making his debut in March 2015, the 19-year-old has made over 50 appearances for the club and his form in March – which included three goals in four matches – has put Blackpool in prime position as they take on Leyton Orient in their final League Two fixture of the season.
Following his move to England at 10 years old, Nigerian born Osayi-Samuel was scouted by Blackpool first-team coach Richie Kyle at 16, before being offered a youth team scholarship and professional terms shortly after.
His debut came against Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship in 2015 but he had to wait until this season for his first goal, which came in a 2-0 win against Stevenage in December. Tipped for a bright future, Osayi-Samuel has now made 24 starts this term in Gary Bowyer’s side.
On winning the EFL Young Player of the Month award he said: “It feels great. I don’t win that many awards but I’m glad to win this one. Hopefully, I can kick on from here.”
Each season EFL Clubs invest more than £60m on identifying, training and educating the next generation of football talent.
There are 8,500 young players between the ages of eight and 18 registered with EFL Clubs, making EFL Youth Development the largest centrally coordinated young player programme in world football.
Able to play on either flank and through the middle, his turn of pace and skilful dribbling have troubled League Two defences all season and he has become one of Blackpool’s top performers, with his standout display this season arguably coming away at Newport County in March.
Osayi-Samuel opened the scoring following an incisive counter attack, before putting the game beyond doubt in the final minutes after racing all of 60 yards onto his own clearance and finishing smartly.
When asked about his current form he added: “From when he [Gary Bowyer] first came in and first saw me play, he gave me confidence, and ever since I’ve been doing well.
“Last season, I didn’t manage to score any but since the gaffer has come in, I’ve managed to score important goals to help us get to where we are in the table. I just want to keep that going.
“I would say last year I was a bit more quiet, but since he came in I’ve shown what I’m about not just on the pitch, but also off the pitch – I’ve become a better person and learnt more about myself.”
EFL Young Player of the Month winners - Season 2016/17
August: Nathan Smith (Port Vale)
September: Tammy Abraham (Bristol City)
October: Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United)
November: Liam Mandeville (Doncaster Rovers)
December: Frankie Kent (Colchester United)
January: John Swift (Reading)
February: Ryan Ledson (Oxford United)
March: Bright Osayi-Samuel (Blackpool)