Birmingham City teenager Nico Gordon revels in goal heroics - and boss Lee Bowyer heaps praise on his efforts

Nineteen-year-old Brummie aiming to feature in more matches as Blues’ Championship campaign enters final ten games

Nico Gordon was brought into the Birmingham City team with the primary aim of shoring up a leaky defence – but the teenager took just 13 minutes to make a vital impact at the other end of the pitch at Bristol City.

After making Blues’ first team squad for the first time this season, the 19-year-old headed home from Jordan Graham’s corner for what proved to be the winning goal in a crucial 2-1 victory at Ashton Gate which surely banishes any lingering fears of relegation.

Birmingham-born and bred Nico Gordon is one of many academy graduates to impress in recent years at Blues and he was in euphoric mood after his goal and solid defensive display on Saturday.

Centre-back Gordon said: “It’s a crazy feeling to score, especially after coming back from injury and with my family in the stands watching.

“I told Marcel (Oakley, Blues’ teenage substitute) that I was going to score as well! It’s crazy it happened!

“We worked a lot on the set-pieces ahead of the game and Jordan Graham’s delivery was quality. He found me unmarked in the box, I got my head on it and thankfully it went in.

“I don’t even really remember my celebration. I just ran to Jordan! I’m just so happy to score.”

What did boss Lee Bowyer say about Gordon’s performance?

On his first Championship appearance of the season, Gordon was composed on the ball throughout and stood up well to the task of taking on the Robins’ livewire striker Antoine Semenyo and his fellow forward and more experienced Chris Martin.

Bowyer said: “I wanted to go to a back tree – I can’t keep playing with a makeshift back four and I feel we’re more solid as we were on Saturday.

“Nico did well against their two strikers – powerful boys – he competed.

“He did better than I thought he was going to do because it is his first proper game for a long, long time because he has been out injured.

“I am really pleased for him because he has been out a long time and he played really well.”

Nico Gordon was thrilled with his match-winning exploits in the West Country. Picture:  Shaun Botterill/Getty Images.
Nico Gordon was thrilled with his match-winning exploits in the West Country. Picture:  Shaun Botterill/Getty Images.
Nico Gordon was thrilled with his match-winning exploits in the West Country. Picture: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images.

What previous first team experience has Gordon enjoyed?

Gordon’s only other senior appearance of the campaign was playing 73 minutes of the EFL Cup victory over Colchester United in August.

Prior to that, Gordon had featured in four Championship games over the previous two seasons – with one start and one substitute appearance in each.

His first outing was a three-minute cameo in the 3-3 draw at home to Hull City in June 2020 and his most recent was playing the full 90 minutes of the 5-2 defeat at Blackburn Rovers which brought the 2020/21 programme to a close.

What is Gordon’s background on and off the pitch?

He was born in Birmingham and attended St Thomas Aquinas Catholic School in Kings Norton. Gordon joined Blues in 2014 and took up a two-year scholarship with the academy in 2018.

Gordon, who can play across the defence or as a defensive midfielder, made his competitive bow for Birmingham’s development squad team in August 2019 and he also captained the under-18 side which reached the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup in 2019/20.

Gordon signed a three-year professional contract in June 2020. The deal runs until the end of June 2023, but the club has the option of a fourth year.

What does the remainder of the season hold for the teenager?

Gordon will hope to keep his place in the side for Saturday’s visit of Hull City to St Andrew’s – the first of ten remaining games.

Fellow centre-back Teden Mengi is expected to resume training this week after a month out with injury, but Bowyer may be reluctant to throw the Manchester United loanee straight back into the starting XI.

Even if he does, there is a good chance Gordon will feature again as only Marc Roberts and Mengi are the only senior centre-backs available to Bowyer. Kristian Pedersen has been playing as a centre-back, but Bowyer is expected to move him back to left-back or left wing-back now the injury situation is easing.

Furthermore, with Blues surely set to be safe long before the end of the season, Bowyer is also likely to hand more minutes to Gordon and other younger players to see how they stand up to the rigours of regular Championship football.

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