Who to watch out for amongst the current crop of Nigerian internationals or eligible players to play for the Super Eagles? 3 players we particularly like are Wilfred Ndidi. Eberechi Eze and Shola Shoretire.
Wilfred Ndidi the Fox
Wilfred Ndidi moved from Genk for 15m pounds to Leicester City in 2017, and he’s been a key player in Leicester’s push for European spots since then. Last year they narrowly missed out on the Champions League qualification, but this year, they look like making an even stronger push for those top 4 places in the league.
Ndidi is a no-nonsense battling midfielder that marshals the centre of the pitch with an amazing work-rate and stubbornness to not allow opponent attacks or passes through his centerfield line.
When they do break his midfield line and run onto or past his defence, he’s often the one seen bailing his back line out with challenges and last gasp tackles to deny scoring opportunities. This allows other midfielders in the Leicester team like Youri Tielemans and James Maddison to play further forward and feed balls to Harvey Barnes or Jamie Vardy. He was injured the last few months with an adductor injury and then a hamstring, but is now back in the team.
Bez of Eze?
Eberechi Eze has to be one of the most exciting of the new crop of Nigerian players. He was at QPR and scored 10 goals and assisted 6 in his last full season there before being snapped up by Crystal Palace. He’s seen as a natural heir to Wilfred Zaha. A lot to live up to for a 22-year-old, but already this season he’s shown glimpses of his undeniable talent. He’s got speed, quick feet to take on players and a good eye for goal.
Although some critics are complaining, for all his flair, his output is not enough to warrant his tag of the “next Zaha”. They may be right as his return at Palace so far this season has only been 3 goals and 3 assists in 22 matches. At a cost of 19.5 million, that’s 6.5m a goal. Watch some highlights of him when he was at QPR to really appreciate his speed and flair.
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Shola’s Senior Debut
Shola Shoretire is on the books at Manchester United, the 18-time league winners of England. So, he’s at one of the most prestigious clubs in Europe. He’s yet to feature in the senior team, playing only U23 games. To come through and break into the first team at the Red Devils is no mean feat. Having his fellow countryman Odion Ighalo there last season must have helped and inspired Shola.
Now just 17, he joined Manchester United at age 9 and has played the Uefa Youth League already, but he could be in line for his debut in the Uefa Cup proper, in the round of 32 game against Real Sociedad.
He may only feature on the bench in this tie, but what a great experience for the youngster to be amongst the first-team and travelling with them to a big European match. He’s featured for England’s international team at various youth age groups, but people are hoping he may still switch allegiances and play for the Super Eagles before he commits to England fully.