Having joined The O’s aged just eight years old, Nkrumah has risen through the ranks in every age group, before finally making his professional debut earlier this month.
An intelligent forward who can play both wide and through the middle, Nkrumah made a big impression on O’s manager Kenny Jackett in pre-season, and has taken his chance with both hands.
“The club means everything to me, it’s all I’ve ever known.”
“It’s a dream come true for me,” said Nkrumah in his first interview as a professional.
“The club means everything to me, it’s all I’ve ever known. I’m a local lad from East London, so this is literally my local team, I’m buzzing.”
“When you become a scholar you train right next to the first team, so the exposure to that is brilliant, it’s one of the best academies around for that.”
Nkrumah came on as a substitute in The O’s 1-0 Papa John’s Trophy win over Southampton U21’s, one of four players to make their professional debut that night.
The progression from the academy to the first team was of real motivation to Dan and his fellow academy players – with them all sharing great relationships on and off the field.
“I was buzzing, there were a few nerves, but once I got out on the pitch I was ok. To do it with some of my fellow youth team players too was great, the likes of Jephte [Tanga] and Antony [Papadopoulos].”
“We’re more or less brothers, even today with me signing all of the boys are so buzzing, so I couldn’t ask for a better group of teammates.”
“He has a great attitude, he’s humble and he’s hard working.”
Getting the call to head up to Scotland with the first team was a big moment for the young forward, and this set the foundations to force his way into the thinking of Kenny Jackett.
“We felt he excelled in pre-season, and has regularly been training with the first team group. Although he’s still 17-years-old, we felt he had earned a professional deal, and to continue to aid his progress in every way he can.”
“He has a great attitude, he’s humble and he’s hard working. These are good qualities if you want to make it, so I’m looking forward to working with him.”
Having caught the manager’s eye early on, Nkrumah started in two high profile games, and impressed supporters in his starts against West Ham and Tottenham Hotspur.
“For him to put his faith and trust in me, and to put in me in against the likes of West Ham and Spurs in pre-season, it’s surreal.”
“I went from watching them on TV, to then playing against the likes of Michael Antonio and Mark Noble – so I can only thank him for his trust, and give him 100% when I’m out on the pitch.”
“My aim now is to break into this team.”
With his first professional game and now a professional contract under his belt, everything is in place to kick-on for Nkrumah.
“My aim now is to break into this team. There’s a lot of competition of course, but this is what you live for. I want to make the gaffer’s decision hard for him, and make my way into that starting XI.”
With the progression of our academy close to our supporters’ hearts, the club recently launched the One Of Our Own scheme.
Fans can support the academy for just £5 a month, and receive a wide range of benefits.
To sign-up to the scheme, click here and find out more.