Today, we’re continuing our new series titled ‘Once A Rover’, in which we detail the career of those players to have played for Rovers’ youth teams, but never got the chance to represent the first team in a senior league fixture.
Last time out, we covered the career of Irish defender Gavin Peers, which you can check out using the link at the end of this article.
The inspiration for today’s instalment comes from playing endless hours of Football Manager 2021 over the international break, when a name I barely recognised popped up as a potential target in my road to the Premier League save with Sunderland – but enough about FM.
Born in the North West, Osayamen Osawe arrived at Ewood Park in 2010 after a spell with Manchester City’s academy. He was a regular in the youth teams at Ewood, and played in the FA Youth Cup final in 2012, facing up against the likes of Nathan Ake and Nathaniel Chalobah for Chelsea.
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However, in his three years with Rovers, Osawe failed to make a senior appearance for the club and spent two spells on loan away from the club. He joined Accrington Stanley in 2012 and made three appearances, and then went on loan to Hyde a year later, making two appearances.
In 2013, aged 20, Osawe made the permanent switch to Southport. He spent a solitary season with the Sandgrounders, scoring six times in the 2013-14 season.
The following summer saw the Nigerian forward make the bold move to relocate to Germany to try and take advantage of the chances for young English players, joining third tier side Hallescher. In his two years with ‘Chemie’, Osawe secured a lucrative move to four-time Bundesliga winners 1.FC Kaiserslautern.
However, it was a disappointing time for Osawe and ‘Die roten Teufel’ (translated to The Red Devils), as they achieved 13th and 18th-placed finishes, relegating the side to the third tier of German football.
He left Kaiserslautern in the summer following relegation, signing for second tier side FC Ingolstadt, signing a two-year deal. However, he only lasted eight months with the club and moved on in January 2019 after failing to find the net.
His next club was KFC Uerdingen, where he still plays now in the third tier, helping them to 11th and 13th place finishes in his first two seasons there. This season, Osawe has rarely featured for Uerdingen, featuring once.
Osawe is another example of what the academy prospects can go onto achieve with Rovers. It might not be the glitz and glamour of the Bundesliga or high levels of English football, but Osawe’s career is one that will have provided him with plenty of experience and memories.
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