Why Sheffield Wednesday youngster Osaze Urhoghide's story is a triumph of hard work and patience
Saturday, January 4, 2020, is a day Osaze Urhoghide will remember for the rest of his life.
The 19-year-old defender was handed a shock start in the Owls' FA Cup third round clash against Brighton and Hove Albion.
The fearlessness of youth was on show at the Amex Stadium as Urhoghide delivered an accomplished performance in the right-back position. Playing with a maturity way beyond his tender years, Urhoghide enjoyed the spotlight and demonstrated an unflappable temperament which will serve him well for the future.
Not only did Urhoghide admirably fulfil his defensive duties against Premier League opposition, but the youngster was also cool, calm and collected in possession.
He barely put a foot wrong all afternoon to help Wednesday keep a clean sheet and cause a cup upset.
A grounded, humble young man, Urhoghide could not stop smiling as he conducted his post match media duties. His pure, refreshing interview was full of joy and excitement.
Reflecting on his senior debut, Urhoghide said: "Wow. It was great. It was one of the best games to make your professional debut; big crowd. What a stage.
"When the gaffer told me I was starting, I was surprised but so happy.
"People don't understand what I have been through and the hard work I have put in.
"It was great to get the win and clean sheet after the run we have been on.
"It is just a dream come true."
It came as a big surprise to Urhoghide when boss Garry Monk told him he was playing down on the south coast.
"I knew I was travelling but then I got a call yesterday (Friday) and then he told me I was starting," he said. "I want to thank him for putting his trust in me and starting me against a big Premier League team as well.
"I am glad to pay him back with the win and the clean sheet."
Urhoghide's story is a triumph of patience and perseverance. Released by AFC Wimbledon last summer, he faced an uncertain future.
But Urhoghide refused to give up on his dream and used that disappointment as motivation to prove people wrong.
It says a lot about Urhoghide's mental fortitude and character that he put the early setback in his career behind him and earned a contract with the Owls.
Urhoghide, a regular member of Wednesday's Under-23s this season, said: "It was tough in the summer and I didn't know where I would end up.
"I trusted myself. I knew I was good enough to get a club somewhere.
"It was a surprise when the opportunity came up to join Sheffield Wednesday. I came on trial and then I got signed.
"It was a big move for me and the first time I have been away from my family permanently.
"It was a new experience for me and I had to adapt to a new culture and new people but I am now settled in and enjoying things."
Some of Urhoghide's family were in the crowd at Brighton.
"I am originally from London so my dad and my brother came down which was great," he said. "They have been with me through my journey.
"My dad brought me to training when I was younger. It was great to play well in front of him."
Urhoghide, the first player aged under 22 to feature for the Owls this season, seized his opportunity to shine and did himself and his family proud.