What Plymouth Argyle are getting in first summer signing Nathanael Ogbeta

Nathanael Ogbeta will always hold a place in Plymouth Argyle history after becoming the club's first signing since they appointed Wayne Rooney as their new head coach.

The 23-year-old former Manchester City academy graduate will now be playing under the leadership of Manchester United's record goalscorer. The signing of Ogebta indicates that Mickel Miller's time at Argyle has come to an end, although there has been no official confirmation of that yet.

Miller's current deal with the Pilgrims expires at the end of this month and although he was offered a new contract to extend his stay at Home Park he has been linked with Oxford United, Portsmouth and Preston North End and the arrival of Ogbeta looks like a direct replacement for him.

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Like Miller, Ogbeta is a left wing-back or full-back and has been recruited as a free agent from Swansea City after making just three first team appearances for the Welsh club.

However, he has had loan spells with Peterborough United and Bolton Wanderers in League One over the past couple of seasons and is now ready to make the step up to the Championship.

Ogbeta joined Bolton in late January and went on to play 17 times, including when he started the 2-0 League One Play-Off Final defeat by Oxford United at Wembley. Plymouth Live have been given an indication of what the Green Army can expect from Ogbeta by Marc Iles, the chief football writer for The Bolton News.

What are his best positions?

Bolton used him exclusively as a left wing-back, usually as an alternative to Randell Williams. He started at Shrewsbury as a left-back and occasionally dropped into midfield but I think his attacking instincts make him more effective in a more advanced role with the insurance of a left-sided centre-half behind him.

What are his strengths?

He had been out of action for a fair while when he came to Bolton, so it took him a couple of months to build up the fitness to see him lasting 90 minutes. By the end of his time at the club you could see he was a good athlete and that he had pace.

Speaking to the folk at Peterborough, they claimed the quality and consistency of delivery was his main strength. I don’t think we saw the very best of Ogbeta on that front, although a few memorable crosses do stand out including one for Cameron Jerome at London Road on the final day of the regular season.

What are his weaknesses?

It seems to be a modern fault for many defenders but I think particularly for full-backs and wing-backs, the ability to stop crosses is quite important. I don’t think Ogbeta did quite enough of that.

Wanderers wanted him to push forward and that did leave a lot of space in behind him. Some of the cannier teams in League One tried to expose the gaps, which occasionally left Eoin Toal, Bolton’s left-sided centre-half, with problems to address.

How did he do for Bolton last season?

Ogbeta started well, scoring on his debut against Carlisle United. I remember thinking at the time that Bolton had signed a real star as he played cheerleader in front of a packed out away end and flashed that winning smile at the camera.

We had to accept that he was still on the comeback trail from a serious quad injury, which had kept him out for the better part of a year. Psychologically, he had to learn to trust his body again, and there were occasions when he had to be helped off the pitch he’d run so hard.

He scored again in a 5-0 win against Oxford United on the TV in mid-March, creating another goal for Josh Dacres-Cogley. And by that point he was really looking strong. Randell Williams, who had returned from a hamstring injury, wasn’t really getting a look-in.

Right at the very end of the season, however, he pulled out of the squad against Port Vale with a minor thigh injury. Williams came back in, and Ogbeta played only nine more minutes up to the play-off final.

On the eve of the game at Wembley we heard that Williams had picked up an injury and Ogbeta would be in the team. He wasn’t the only one by a long chalk, but it wasn’t his greatest day.

Can he make the step up to the Championship?

He’s 23, so there is plenty of time for him to develop still as a player. I think he will need to improve that defensive aspect of his game, stay fit, and get stronger to prosper at that level.

As Plymouth will know well by now, the Championship doesn’t have quite as many teams who rely on raw physicality, but the game is often quicker and more technical. Ogbeta has worked at that level with Swansea and knows what to expect and I think his time at Bolton will have served him well, helping him get over that injury and back into regular football.

We’ll wish him well. A really positive young man who looks eager to learn.