David Ozoh, 17, is Crystal Palace’s youngest ever Premier League star, was born in Spain and is Patrick Vieira’s project

TEENAGE sensation David Ozoh is off and running with his Crystal Palace career – one that is expected to be glittering.

The 17-year-old was introduced in the final moments against Newcastle on Saturday night and became the club’s youngest ever Premier League player – beating George Ndah’s record from 1992.

Teenage sensation David Ozoh made his debut for Crystal Palace last weekendRex

Ozoh made history to become Palace’s youngest ever Premier League playerGetty

“It means a lot,” Ozoh told Palace TV after the game.

“You put in all the hard work for this moment. It’s a dream come true. I can’t believe it – it’s honestly the best feeling ever.

“When I got told to warm-up I was nervous, but when I got on, I felt good and obviously just tried to play it simple, make a few passes and grow into the game.

“Honestly, coming on in this game was crazy. It was a game that we really wanted to win, and to be put on in this type of game shows how much trust the manager has in me, so I’m really pleased.”

Born in Spain

It was a journey that began in Spain, rather than South London.

Ozoh was born to Nigerian parents in Valencia, where he was raised until he was eight until moving to Croydon.

“My parents decided to go there for better opportunities at the time, but I moved to the UK when I was eight-years-old,” he said.

“I came to Croydon; it was the first place I moved to, and I remember it like it was yesterday.

“Valencia is really different to Croydon! It’s hot, it’s really good. I enjoyed my time there, so I was quite sad when I [initially] moved here, but it was for the better. We came here for a better opportunity.

“I was speaking fluent Spanish, but no one believes me anymore! I forgot a bit of my Spanish – when people ask me to say things, I can’t really – but I’m trying to pick it back up.”

Palace journey

Ozoh showed an aptitude for football from a young age, and was offered places in the academies of a number of clubs in his native Spain.

However, with his parents moving to the UK, he was forced to turn them down.

Instead, he joined Palace’s academy not long after arriving on our shores.

But it wasn’t until U15 level where he found his best position.

“[In the early days] I played literally everywhere. I played as striker, winger, centre-back… but in the Under-15s season I played central midfield and I felt like it just clicked.

InstagramBack in August Ozoh signed his first professional contract[/caption]

Ozoh was an unused sub against Chelsea at Stamford BridgeRex

PinnacleOzoh in action in the EFL Papa John’s Trophy earlier this season[/caption]

“It was brilliant for me, and ever since then, I’ve never looked back. I’ve always been strong on the ball, being fast, playing quick. I’ve been developing the skills I already have and making them better to progress into the first-team.

“I’ve always been bigger than my age group. That’s why they’ve tried to play me up a few times: to test me, and see that it’s not just about my strength, it’s also about my technical ability. I think I’ve done well when they’ve brought me up.”

Learning from the best

Before he ran on to the pitch at Selhurst Park last Saturday night, Ozoh received a pat on the back from manager Patrick Vieira.

A midfield enforcer in his day, the youngster is learning the ropes from the Arsenal legend about his key position.

Patrick Vieira is a good manager. I just try and learn so much from him, as we played in the same position,” Ozoh explained.

“He’s good to me, he speaks to me after training to let me know what I can do better, and I really like working with him.”

Ozoh, celebrating with Victor Akinwale, has been with Palace since he was eightPinnacle

ReutersPatrick Vieira has been a mentor to Ozoh[/caption]

The future is bright for Ozoh in South LondonRex

Ozoh has been an ever-present in the U21’s this season – featuring in 14 of the 15 games he was eligible to play for since signing his first professional contract back in August.

It won’t be long before he’s ever-present in the first team, given his rapid rise in the game.

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