Former Harrow Borough Fejiri Okenabirhie set for England C debut
PUBLISHED: 14:30 26 May 2017
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Ex-Boro boy, now at Dagenham & Redbridge, in 18-man squad to face Panjab FA and Jersey FA
Former Harrow Borough winger Fejiri Okenabirhie is set for his England C debut on Sunday when the non-league national team tackle a Panjab FA XI.
The 21-year-old left Earlsmead Stadium last summer to move to National League side Dagenham & Redbridge, netting seven goals in 30 league appearances.
And it is that form which has alerted the England C selectors, including goalkeeping coach Mick Payne, who has kept a keen eye on Okenabirhie this season having summarised on a number of Daggers games.
“What Fejiri gives you is someone who can go past defenders with their pace,” said Payne.
“He delivers good crosses too and we’ve seen that he can play on both sides of the pitch.
“It’s a shame he did get injured a couple of times, but he’s shown great character to bounce back from it.
“Fejiri is someone who has great potential and he’s going to give us pace and strength, which is something you need when you like to play football like we do.
“Paul Fairclough (the England C manager) has been to see him too and he’s been impressed.”
When Okenabirhie does don the England C shirt this weekend, he will be following in the footsteps of some high-quality players.
In recent years, the likes of Burnley duo Andre Gray and George Boyd, as well as David Stockdale of Brighton & Hove Albion, have all turned out for England C in recent years before progressing up the English league pyramid.
And Payne believes the boost these players get from representing their country is what helps them progress in their respective careers.
“Playing for the England C squad almost acts like a rubber-stamp for the quality of these players,” he added.
“You look at the likes of Gray, Steve Morison, Boyd, Stockdale and Andy Yiadom, all of whom played for the us before making the step up.
“It offers these players a platform to be highlighted because they come up against opposition of a good standard
England C face the Panjab FA on Sunday at Solihull Moors’ Damson Park. The match kicks off at 3pm, with free entry for all fans.