Nathaniel Wordie – combative midfielder following in the footsteps of Anthony Annan

Former Black Stars midfielder Anthony Annan commanded a pivotal role in the largely successful Black Stars set-up from 2008, where he was a prominent feature and went on to play for the side for over a decade.

Annan’s combative nature is a testament of a gift to quickly regain possession for his side; an impeccable passing ability, instinct to move into space to receive balls whiles serving as a protective shield for the back four.

He played a master stroke in the Black Stars success in the 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014 African Cup of Nations (AFCON).

That sturdy character also ensured a third consecutive appearance at the World Cup in 2014.

It is no wonder young Nathaniel Wordie, then a colt’s player at Revelations FC in Tema, where he featured alongside Black Stars midfielder Thomas Partey and former U-20 Stars Francis Narh and Moses Odjer, was watching and closely modeling his playing style around Annan.

Wordie was marveled at how Annan complimented his lack of height with an outstanding work rate, timely tackles and an unmatched passing ability.

Being a diminutive defensive midfielder himself, Annan’s displays excited him and led him to cautiously learn the ropes of his icon’s style with the belief that he would replace him in the senior side when he is matured enough and Annan had called time on his international duties.

As a teenage player therefore, Wordie was exhilarated when he had the opportunity to meet his idol with subsequent meetings leading to Annan watching him in action in a couple of games and declaring him his apparent successor in the Black Stars at that tender age.

Since then, the Black Stars enforcer has taken a prominent stake in the career of Wordie, guiding his playing and career choices.

Speaking on Nat, Annan disclosed that he met the youngster when he (Annan) featured for Ghanaian giants Accra Hearts of Oak and Nat was in his teenage years at the colts division.

 However, Nat’s talent at that stage caught his eye as he saw rare attributes of a youngster who played like him.

“He was full of energy, hardly gave the ball away, tactically disciplined and gave incisive passes. He really impressed me then and after watching him closely afterwards, I was unshaken in my thoughts that he would replace me in the national side.”

Annan has kept close contact with his protégé, monitoring his progress and has been left impressed after noticing massive improvements in different areas of his game.

“I’m proud that over the years he has worked to improve certain areas of his game. He is a determined, disciplined young footballer and I tip him to be an asset to the national side very soon,” Annan said.

At just 22 years, Nat has had a colourful career and has worked under the tutelage of revered coaches including Eben Dadzie and current Kotoko assistant coach Akakpo Patron.

After starting off at Revelations; he later featured for Brighton FC and the junior side of Heart of Lions before having the opportunity to travel abroad where he had stints with Dubai-based premier side, Sharjah Sporting Club and Zambian side Royal Nkonde as well as a short stay with Swedish division two side IFK Lulea.

With his sights clearly set on donning the national colours, Wordie is currently weighing the options of his next move after completing a six-month contract with Indian top-flight side Minerva Punjab.

BY NANA BENTSI ODURO

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