Express & Star

Debut goal a 'fairytale' for Walsall loanee Emmanuel Adegboyega

Emmanuel Adegboyega described scoring the winning goal over Mansfield Town on his league debut as a “fairytale”.


The Norwich City loanee has had to bide his time since arriving in January, but was presented with a chance when Priestley Farquharson was forced off with a thigh injury at the break.

Stephen Quinn cancelled out Jamille Matt’s opener in the space of three second-half minutes, before Adegboyega climbed highest to head in the winner.

Reflecting on his debut decider, Adegboyega said: “I’m still trying to get my head around it. It feels like a fairy tale to come on at half-time and get the winner at home.

“It feels surreal. I scored my first professional goal with a header (for Drogheda United). Hopefully I can continue like this.”

Patience has been a key factor behind his dream debut for the Saddlers and Adegboyega has credited Walsall boss Mat Sadler for showing faith in him amid his struggle for minutes.

“The conversations are very positive. A young player coming in on loan, you’d think that you’re expected to play,” he revealed. “The gaffer reassured me to be patient and told me your time will come. He brought me in for a reason, which is to play and here we are.”

Adegboyega was left out of the squad for the last two matches against Newport County and Crawley Town respectively. The severity of Donervon Daniels and Farquharson’s injuries remain unclear, but he could have a key role to play over the coming games.

The 20-year-old made his debut from the bench in the 4-0 defeat against Southampton in the FA Cup last month, but explained that having an overview of how the defence operates while watching from the bench has enabled him to fit straight into the back-line.

“The gaffer is always telling us from the bench to always pay attention,” he added. “You can’t just sit on your phone and switch off. You must focus on how the players in front of you are playing so you can slot in perfectly when it’s your time.

“It makes it easier because he (Sadler) makes you feel part of the squad even if you’re not involved for every game.

“It’s easy to adjust. I wasn’t playing but I was still with the squad on a match day, seeing how things operate and work.”