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Detlef Esapa Osong – Nottingham Forest’s next striker?

[Photo by Naomi Baker]

Detlef Esapa Osong is an 18-year-old striker who featured heavily in Nottingham Forest’s run to the FA Youth Cup final last year. He has a big future ahead of him after signing a professional contract with Forest in January.

The journey of Esapa Osong is unconventional as he has a background in non-league football. In fact, he joined Forest from grassroots football in 2017, and since then has flourished at the Nigel Doughty academy.

When signing his professional contract in January 2022, he told the Nottingham Forest website, “I first arrived from Sunday league and the club and coaches have helped me develop in a professional environment and made me realise what it takes to be a professional footballer.’’

The English striker is a constant threat for defenders, combining pace and power with clinical finishing, which is highlighted in his goalscoring record.

He scored 11 goals in the 2021/2022 U18 Premier League season and has already scored four goals in this year’s campaign.

Esapa Osong’s style of play lends itself to comparisons with former Forest striker Michail Antonio. Antonio also has a background in non-league football as he only joined a professional club at the age of 18 after spending his early years at Tooting & Mitcham United.

Esapa Osong played a key role in Forest’s run to the FA Youth Cup final last year, scoring five goals and assisting two. The most notable performance was in Forest’s 3-1 victory against Chelsea in the semi-final, where he scored two goals and assisted the other.

[Photo by Naomi Baker]

The performance against Chelsea demonstrated his attacking attributes perfectly. He brushed past two Chelsea defenders to set up Dale Taylor for the opener, before calmly slotting in a first time right-footed shot and a late penalty to see off Chelsea.

Esapa Osong has continued to impress this campaign, scoring in the Premier League 2 and has been pictured in first-team training on occasions.

His only goal for the Forest U21’s came in a 5-1 defeat to Leeds U21’s in August. He will be hoping for more appearances and goals in the Premier League 2 as the season progresses.

Forest secured their passage into the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup last night as they beat West Brom 1-0. Esapa Osong scored the only goal of the game after a solitary effort. Check out the goal below

The young talisman will be hoping for more Premier League 2 appearances this season to continue his development.

If Forest’s first team survive in the Premier League this season, Esapa Osong may have to look for a potential loan move for first-team football. There will be plenty of suitors for the talented young striker as we move into 2023.

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