Often Partisan

The Rise of Viv Solomon-Otabor

London-born winger Viv Solomon-Otabor is the latest Academy product tipped to become a first team success. Having made his debut in the Capital One Cup against Gillingham the teenager has made four appearances from the subs bench each of which showing promise.

Viv caught my eye playing for the reserves at the tail end of last season. I’d seen him play a few times before then but it was if he’d found another gear in pace and another level in ability. We’ve been blessed with tricky, pacy forward players from the Academy in recent years with Nathan Redmond, Demarai Gray and to a lesser extent Koby Arthur all impressing in the first team and I’m reasonably sure Viv will follow in their footsteps.

Signed as a 16-year-old from Palace after they released him from their Academy, Solomon-Otabor was, like Gray one of those players initially who looked okay but didn’t stand out in the same way Redmond did at that age. However, the close contact with the first team squad seems to have done him some good and I can remember a couple of games in the development squad – Ipswich in the Professional Development League and Nuneaton in the Senior Cup final where he looked ready to make the step up.

Viv has been recognised internationally as well with Nigeria calling him into their u23 squad camps prior to their games for Olympic qualification but as yet I don’t think he’s made his debut for the young Super Eagles side. However, if he can continue pushing into the first team that too will only be a matter of time.

I think the next step for Viv has got to be like Gray; honing down those raw edges and learning from the experience of being in the first team. The Londoner got pace to burn but he needs to improve on his decision making so that he is more effective going forwards; against Ipswich in the reserves he showed he can beat a defender inside and out. If Viv can carry that forwards into the first team – make defenders unsure which way to make him go – then he could be a very potent threat off the bench. Likewise, shots on goal are going to be important too – I think one of the reasons Koby has fallen back is he doesn’t present anywhere near as much of a goal threat as he should do.

As I understand it, the aim is to get two players from the U21s into the first team playing regularly this season – something that is important with the ending of the loan windows at the end of this campaign. Viv could well be one of those players – hopefully he will step up to follow Redmond and Gray as the next young crown jewel on the Blues wing.

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24 Responses to “The Rise of Viv Solomon-Otabor”

  • DaveP says:

    With everyone and their mother supposedly scouting Dimmi with a view to a january transfer Viv’s breakthrough could soften the blow somewhat

  • We have a few young players that are crying out for an identity , that has obvious talent but do not no what is their best position , viv is one of them , he doesn’t cross like beckam, he doesn’t score goals like Henry , his coaching now will decide which way to go ,

    • zxcv says:

      I think you may be better off going home to your own Planet if you are expecting them to be able to do what those two did.

  • zxcv says:

    Gary Rowett spoke on this subject last night Dan, live on Radio WM Phone in. TBH he was very frank on who he will pick form The kids to join the first team squad and he talked about the attitude of a certain player who needs to change and become more professional Not sure if you have been able to get the program via internet where you are but it was quite an eye opener I thought..

  • Richard Granfield says:

    I predict Viv will become a striker in time. He has similar attributes to Dimmi, but he is much more muscular.

  • Tony says:

    To be honest if he could do what Henry and Beckam did we would have a world class player on our hands I have seen him and he can play,y he has a bright future.
    Its worth a moment to reflect on what the academy has produced in recent years, considering the turmoil the club has been in its a real achievement that these lads have come to the fore. Someone is doing something right long may it continue.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Over the last 12 months it’s been the rise of Birmingham City ,Gary Rowett , the Blues fans & some of our younger players .. Everybody rise to our turn around since last November .. Truly magnificent . Kro

  • oldburyblue says:

    I will stick my neck out now by saying that Viv will prove to be better than Dimmi. The first time I remember seeing Viv was April 2013 when he played for the U21’s. Dimmi was on the bench that day. Neither player were known to me at that time but I marked Viv with a star on my teamsheet as one to watch.

  • Matt says:

    I’ve seen Viv a few times now, and at the back end of last season and the beginning of this season it was clear to see he was a step ahead of a lot of players in our u21 squad. He seems to have worked on his overall game which has impressed Gary Rowett.
    Yesterday from the phone in, it was great to see that Gary wants 100% from whoever is in our squad even from our youngsters and although ability is important as Reece Brown, who we’ve seen outplay Premier League opposition. You need to have the full package to have a look in. Hopefully Reece listens and makes the step up, because he could have a fantastic career ahead of him, like Dimmi and Viv.

    • zxcv says:

      Matt, I think listening to Gary last night shows just why he will be a top Manager because all the things that any player should have in his make up is so important to Gary. He knows that certain standards are as important as much as having all the skill in the world and that includes attitude, character, discipline, and loads more. I really think Gary is a bit of a throw back in all honesty and I can`t speak more highly of the man other than to say he is destined for the very top imo, and we should not forget the job his backroom staff are doing. They certainly all seem to be together as a team and that is so important as well.

  • asif says:

    Is koby arthur still at blues?

    • almajir says:

      Yes

      • asif says:

        has he signed a new contract?

        • Bluepeguin1976 says:

          Yes Asif, he signed in the summer but has not pushed back into the first team!!

          • zxcv says:

            Koby will get time off the bench I would guess and its how he impresses the Boss, if GR thinks he has what it takes to start a game we will just have to wait and see. Personally I believe he and Viv will be pushing the starting 11 for their place within 6/12 months, Viv maybe even sooner but no rush.

  • KC says:

    Spot on comments about Rowett and to think there were comments like” Has he got found out ” after the Nottingham F. and Rotherham results ! He will get some things wrong but except for the short contribution of Hughton I cannot think of any Blues manager who has had anywhere near such respect unless you go right back to the days when football was very different to how it is today. Really hope he can develop Brown and Arthur further.

  • zxcv says:

    KC,It seems to me that some people just sit and wait for things to go wrong and are never happy unless they are moaning, then you don`t hear from them in the good times. Your right he does have the respect just as he did as a player and more importantly he has the players respect. Like I said he is destined for the very top and just hope he can do it with us if things in HK can be sorted.

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    zxcv. It’s human nature. You do it without realising too!

  • zxcv says:

    Julian, There is a difference to having a general moan than to stating things as facts like “He has been found out” just because he has got us into the top four then we lose one bloody game and he`s been found out? No one says things like that matey without even realising it.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      It’s possibly true that teams have worked out how to play against our system and frustrate us. So, it was up to Mr Rowett to find away round that and, to his credit, he seems to have done that with the 4-3-3/4-5-1 tweak. All he has to do now, is work out a way of opening up teams like Forest and Rotherham at home. He said as much himself in the phone-in. I’m quite happy to let him get on with it.

  • jazzzy786 says:

    If you went to the Forest and Rotherham games and witnessed how poorly we played and how devoid of ideas we were at breaking those teams down you too would’ve been unhappy. We play a counter attack game and if a team puts men behind the ball we struggle to break them down. Both Forest and Rotherham outplayed us and we had no answers. A great response from the lads versus Brentford and Leeds. Adding Davis to the midfield has indeed added some much needed steel higher up the pitch something which neither Toral or Shinnie could provide. In the Leeds game numerous times Davis won the ball back allowing us to carry on the front foot and stopping Leeds countering. The influence of Robbo in defence should also not be overlooked. However we shouldn’t expect Robbo to be playing regularly at his age. The lack of strikers at the club does worry
    me. I’d rather we had Wes Thomas and Denny Johnstone still at the club as backup in case of injuries/suspensions.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Well done to Mitch Hancox. Scored his first senior goal in a 3-2 win for Crawley.


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