Rob Jones believes Sheffield Wednesday have ‘a player’ on their hands in Omar Damba.
Striker Damba signed an 18-month contract at Hillsborough earlier this week – his first as a professional.
It follows a successful trial with Wednesday, whose attention he caught after scoring a hat-trick against the Owls’ Under-23s for his previous side, the Richmond International Academic & Soccer Academy (RIASA), back in September.
Jones, who captained Wednesday to promotion as League One runners-up in 2011-12, was Damba’s coach at RIASA.
And speaking from a training camp in Florida on Friday, the former centre-back told the academy’s official Twitter page: “Obviously, the news broke yesterday that Omar has signed for the best team in the world, Sheffield Wednesday. Obviously, I was in the air while it was happening. Tony (Sharkey) took charge and took control of everything that went on there.
“This is only the beginning for Omar.”
RIASA Head Academy Coach and former @swfc skipper, Rob Jones discusses the Owls recent signing of RIASA product, Omar Damba.@swfc @swfcsc @TheStarOwls @swfcnews #TransferCentre pic.twitter.com/vXr5T2OXmw
— Richmond International Academic & Soccer Academy (@RIASA_Soccer) January 4, 2019
“It’s been a long time coming. We’ve had him for just over a year with us and I think the first day I met him I could see that he was a player. He’s learnt, he’s listened, he’s improved. The mental side of it has gone through the roof, the physical side of it has gone through the roof. Technically and tactically, he was very good anyway. He understood what he was doing, where he needs to be in certain situations – and he’s a complete finisher.
“So it was only a matter of time before someone took him, and thankfully Sheffield Wednesday took him. 18 months – which is not a long time in a footballer’s life, in a footballer’s window. So it’s up to him now to embrace everything that comes his way.
“He’s going into (work with) a very good coach who coached me when I was younger, a guy called Neil Thompson, who’ll give him all the tools that he needs to get him where he wants to be. This is only the beginning for Omar.
“Like I said before, he’s a player. He was born and bred to play football, and he has that tenacity and that desire to go to the next level. He may well now become a national player. So we wish him the very best of luck for the future, thank him for embracing RIASA and what RIASA does, thank him for becoming involved in where we’ve gone since I arrived, because it’s night and day, and we wish him every success in the future.”
Damba, who only turned 19 in the week before Christmas, was born in Gambia but raised in Spain and Bradford.