The Supercoppa Italiana is best left in the distant memory for Inter fans as they lost 2-1 to bitter rivals AC Milan despite being 1-0 up. The much wanted Wesley Sneijder had put Inter in front with a delightful free-kick but he did very little after and infact the performance by the Nezzazuri has got fans worried ahead of the new Serie A season.
One plus from the game is that of Joel Obi, the youngster was picked to start the game and produced a performance to at least make those worrying fans have something good to fall back on.
Born in Lagos, Nigeria the young 20-year-old is unlike your typical Nigerian player, he has an abundance of skill, speed and tecnical ability but to match also is hard working and tough tackling.
Quick comparisons to Serie A legend Edgar Davids have been made not only because they look alike but due to their “pitbull” like attitude. Like Davids, Obi is not scared to get stuck in.
Obi moved to Italy at the tender age of 14 to join Inter’s youth academy after he was spotted by the clubs African scouts and progressed well through the various youth levels, eventually being promoted to the first team aged 19.
He made his official debut in the clubs Champions League tie in September 2010 against Werder Bremen but little chance have come since then and a couple of unfortunate injuries including a thigh strain in his first Milan derby on the 14th November 2010 in which his inclusion in the first team suprised everyone.
His first season in the spotlight was also met with a tough decision when he was forced to choose between representing his home country Nigeria and his now home Italy, he decided on Nigeria and made his international debut against Sierra Leone in February 2011.
10 appearances for Inter last season didnt take away his talent though and during this summer he has interested various clubs in Italy, including Parma who were desperate to sign the Nigerian player on loan.
Inter rejected though and had other ideas, with the arrival of new coach Gian Gasperini, it was evident Obi would be an important part of the coaches plans.
That was more than evident in the recent Supercoppa Italiana defeat to Milan, Obi started the game in midfield and was one of very little shining lights for Inter that day.
Throughout the years at Inter Milan, youngsters have come and simply disappeared but in Obi they have an all round talent that is very hard to come by.
His knowledge at such a young age of how to play any position in midfielder is something certain players in the game find it hard to learn over their career. His development has been instant and not only does he possess the character of a tough tackler, a dazzling burst of pace or skill can be seen in his play.
Much talk has been on Inter losing their start players and with the possible imminent departure of Wesley Sneijder approaching, Obi could play an important part in making that loss a not so bad one.
Whatever happens, Inter have found a new star….they now just need to use him correctly!
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