Often Partisan

The Rise of… Viv Solomon-Otabor

Viv Solomon-Otabor capped off a 5-2 win against Fulham at the weekend with his first professional goal. Running from inside his own half, the Nigerian youngster forced Richard Stearman to backpedal for 40 yards before cutting back inside, dumping the Fulham defender unceremoniously on his backside in the process and lashing home from inside the area.

It’s been a meteoric rise for the youngster, who made his debut in the League Cup win over Gillingham at the start of the season having impressed in pre-season training. Now the winger, signed from Crystal Palace as a 16-year-old is in the Nigerian u23 squad for their upcoming qualifiers in Senegal and potentially on the verge of a new deal.

I think it’s easy to lump Solomon into a pattern of youngsters who have made it in recent years – Nathan Redmond, Demarai Gray and to some extent Koby Arthur all made it into the team as a tricky winger with the skills to get past opponents but Solomon is not that similar to them. While he is a winger, Solomon is taller, stronger and probably quicker than Gray it’s that raw power that has seen him set people talking about him. I saw Solomon play for the reserves several times last year and in the last couple of months he particularly impressed me with how much he had come on in using his pace and power to beat people.

I think Solomon has benefitted from Dimmy (who is actually six months younger than him) being in the first team in that it gave the London-born youngster the chance to get a run in the development league and to build his skill there when he might have been competing with Demarai for a place. i’m sure he will have also seen how Dimmy has kicked on, improving on his game as he’s made more appearances and will have taken note that if he is to follow the same path he is to do the same.

Solomon is in a strong position now; with Gary Rowett sticking to his “small and tight” squad philosophy and having shipped out Mark Duffy out on loan to Burton it has given the teenager an opportunity to make the bench – something he has grasped with both hands. His cameos have all shown fleeting examples of what he can do and no doubt will have given Rowett food for thought about how he could cope with injuries like the one David Cotterill has recently sustained.

Although one of the biggest steps has been completed in making it to the first team, the next step is the hardest; maintaining that level of consistency to keep his place in the first team squad even when everyone is fit. For me, Solomon now needs to work on repeating what he did to Richard Stearman – driving back tiring defenders and forcing them into mistakes to create openings. The more he can do that, the more he is a real plan “b” off the bench and a potent weapon to change games.


29 Responses to “The Rise of… Viv Solomon-Otabor”

  • ChrisG says:

    Really pleased for the lad, hopefully that goal will settle him down a bit as he is still a raw talent. He took his goal extremely well as when he picked the ball up outside our own area he had more space to run into than an olymic sprinter & probably far too much thinking time, some players might have choked a bit but he showed real composure & maturity beyond his years to beat a couple of defenders & slot the ball nicely past the keeper right in front of 4000 jubilant bluenoses. I think he was a little overcome at the final whistle as well cos he sank to his knees near the centre circle so it obviously meant a lot to him as it did us!!. It’s looking good for the future.

  • KC says:

    So rewarding to see these guys come through. Would like to think Brown can do the same. See in the team listed by the Mail that he did not start in the friendly against Peterborough today.

  • Mitchell says:

    Such a crop of talented players coming through. If top six out of reach this season then so be it- I will be more than happy to see these youngsters take regular positions in the first team next season when I really feel if the manager stays then BCFC could well be the talk of the division. It’s getting the ownership sorted that’s the blasted problem- everything else on the playing side is sorted.

  • DoctorD says:

    I wasn’t at the game but it was wonderful to see Viv’s goal — beautifully well taken, after a long run and dumping the defender on his backside. It clearly meant a huge amount to him too and in the bcfc.com interview he seemed genuinely pleased and emotional at having scored. A fantastic debut goal – let’s hope there’s more from the kid. Well done mate.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Absolutely magnificent sight from behind the goal seeing him running down the middle of the pitch towards us leaving Fulham in his wake putting the defender down on his backside and slotting home .. Demari Gray take note though he also is starting to look the part to be fair .. A trully magical performance that if we can take it into home games will mean certain playoffs .. Toral, Gray, Soloman , maghoma and Donaldson look like they want it now and there’s still cotterill, Brown , shinnie and Brock to come to the party .. ” who put the ball in the Fulham net , half the friging team did ” kro

  • Tony E says:

    Although VSO and Gray are both wingers they are different in style. VSO reminds me of Jordan Ibe, if he turns out to be of that quality we will be delighted.

  • Hillfield Blues says:

    What a way to announce yourself.More direct than Dimmi and a powerful runner with the ball.Got my attention against Forest when he showed their right back which way he was going but still did him for pace and got his cross in.Very exiting prospect.
    Let’s hope hie emergence can inspire Reece and Koby to push on.

  • ChrisG says:

    Reading the report on the u21 game today it looks like Charlee Adams will be the next one to make the step up from the acadamy.

  • DaveP says:

    I notice Michu is a free agent now, having been let go by Swansea, be nice if we could afford a contract until the summer for him.

    • Waycoolblue says:

      LOL But if Swansea can’t afford a financial agreement with him how would we don’t think he would want to play for 6k per week. Even if we could offer him 8k per week he would want 5 times that I bet .

  • Richard Granfield says:

    I would love to see Gary try VSO in a lone striker role. Although only 19 he has already got a powerful physique, which will become more powerful in time. He is quick with an eye for a goal and given a run of games as a striker I am sure he would be a hit.

  • Waycoolblue says:

    Viv is also much stronger than Gray would be good to see them both in the team. As we wont have Toral next season we could see Viv on the left and Gray if we still have him in the number 10 role as he as all the foot work of a shadow striker all he lacks is strength but he is getting stronger and could be ready for next season.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    It makes you wonder what’s going through Reece Brown’s mind, seeing the likes of Gray and Solomon-Otabor progressing in the first team, while he’s getting no game time at all. Will it demoralise him, or will it spur him on to do better? Only time will tell I suppose.

    On another note, I see Alex Jones has been loaned out to Grimsby Town until next month.

    • ChrisG says:

      I’ve heard he has a bit of an attitude problem staffs & let’s face it, GR doesn’t seem the sort who will stand for that. I actually hope it spurs him on to do better & the only way to do that is to do what he’s told & to put in some outstanding performances in the u21s like Charlee Adams has been doing

      • StaffsBlue says:

        Absolutely agree. he needs to show how much he wants it. Maybe, when he first got into the team, he thought he’d made it. But, as OP mentioned, the hard part is maintaining it.

  • Bluegirl says:

    On topic a bit – If you missed Gary being interviewed on the Tom Ross phone in last night, it was filmed and is on You Tube:


    Well worth a listen.


  • Bluegirl says:

    Sorry, meant to say ‘Off topic … ‘ finger dyslexia rules!

  • Mitchell says:

    I am confused by GR comments yesterday regarding the need to get ‘ a couple of players in on emergency loan’.- during the international break. Do I read into this that we have a couple of bad injuries that are unknown to us. He makes particular reference to CF position. With Brock M, available and Jones going out on loan- something not making sense here. It is just the wording ’emergency loan’ that stood out.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Although it doesn’t hurt to have cover in all positions, if any loan players aren’t ‘first team ready’ I don’t see the point in bringing them in. We already have Brock-Madsen and Lowry who can’t buy a first team chance, so I fail to see the point in adding to the squad unless we’re going to get our money’s worth.

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    Mitchell, I think you’ve misread it. He’s looking for ‘support for Donaldson’ i.e. someone to play alongside him on a ‘two up front’

  • Mitchell says:

    How refreshing and revealing it was to watch the Tom Ross/GR phone in last Monday. It explained a lot to us fans especially when Gary Said that we need 4 layers to prevent being overrun by many teams.He also explained that the system we play is because players like Shinnie and Gleeson although talented will never outpace the opposition so need to play in a narrow ‘inside position’. It is this information that Gary explained that made sense of everything. To admit that the team would be vulnerable if we played 4-4-2 is very honest and re-iterates the limitations of quality that he has to work with.

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