The Graduates: No.14 Nedum Onuoha
- 11 October 2011 11:53
- Posted by Emily Brobyn
Academy starlet Nedum Onuoha is the longest-serving graduate still at City, with the defender joining the youth ranks back in 1996.
Although born in Nigeria, he was raised in East Manchester. A keen sportsman from an early age, ‘Ned’ impressed in both the 100 metres and triple jump while at school.
A City fan and ball boy for the Blues growing up, he began his career at the Club 15 years ago at Platt Lane and worked his way up, featuring regularly for the reserves throughout the 2003/04 season.
Onuoha graduated to the first team, making his debut aged 17 against Arsenal in the Carling Cup in October 2004 under manager Kevin Keegan. He didn’t have to wait too long for his Premier League bow, coming on as a substitute against Norwich City just a month later. In the same month he signed his first professional contract with City and made 18 appearances in his debut season.
Despite injury problems, Onuoha began to establish himself as a regular member of the first team. After overcoming thigh and knee injuries during the 2008/09 season he formed a partnership with Richard Dunne at the heart of the City defence and signed a new deal at the Club.
Since then, the defender has found his first-team opportunities limited, starting only seven matches for City during the 2009/10 season. However, one of his appearances was a man-of-the-match performance against Birmingham in which he also scored.
The following season Onuoha headed to the Stadium of Light to join Sunderland on a season-long loan. He was a popular figure on Wearside, making 31 appearances for the Black Cats and scoring a memorable solo goal against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Since his loan he has returned to the Etihad Stadium and made his first appearance in the 2011/12 season against Birmingham City in the Carling Cup in September 2011.
Nedum has also played for the national side, making his England Under-21 debut in October 2005. He also featured in both the 2007 and 2009 European Under-21 Championships.
Since he has not played for England at senior level, Onuoha received a call-up in March 2007 to join the Nigeria squad, an invitation he declined.