As actions resume this weekend in the English Premier League, there are spotlights on seven Nigerian internationals, in this report, Paul Oluwakoya beams searchlights on the players and their clubs. Excerpt.
Nigeria and Arsenal forward, Alex Iwobi, is expected to star as Arsenal kicks off its 2019/20 campaign with Newcastle on Sunday August 11.
The 23-year-old was an important figure for Nigeria at the just-concluded Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt where he helped the Super Eagles to a third-placed finish.
Following his exploits at AFCON, the club gave the Nigerian international and other stars who had been on international duty a three-week vacation.
As a result of the extended leave, the Eagles star missed the clubs’ six friendly matches against Bayern Munich, Fiorentina, Angers, Real Madrid, Lyon and Barcelona. He has since resumed with the club ahead the new season.
Fans will be on the lookout for Wilfred Ndidi after a stellar outing also at the Nations Cup with the Super Eagles of Nigeria. Brendan Rodgers is confident that 22-year-old defender will be available for selection in their kick off against Wolves also on Sunday August 11.
For Kelechi Iheanacho, the Leicester City forward is confident that he is back after scoring three goals in two pre-season games for Leicester City. Last season, the 22-year-old only managed nine Premier League starts and scored just twice in 35 appearances. He hoped to star if given more chances to express is potentials.
“I am delighted, I am happy getting two goals and hopefully I can take that into the season. I think it’s important for my confidence. It has been a long time coming, but I am happy again. I think I can take it fully into the season, ” Iheanacho told Leicester City’s website.
Nigerian fans are looking forward to when Tammy Abraham will declare to play for the national team. The striker believes there is no better time for him and the other young players to make their mark at Chelsea under new boss Frank Lampard.
Nigeria Under-20 international who had previously represented England at youth level, Tom Dele-Bashiru will be part of Watford’s first-team squad heading into the new season. Watford recently signed the 19-year-old former Manchester City youngster.
And not forgetting Leon Balogun. The Nigeria international is focused on getting regular first team football at Brighton. Balogun left Germany to play in England in 2018. On the 22nd day of May 2018, he signed a two-year deal with Brighton & Hove Albion.
The footballer made his debut as an early substitute when Brighton played against Manchester United. In the game which the team went on to beat United, Balogun came on to replace an injured teammate, Lewis Dunk.
He scored his first goal for Brighton when the club played against their bitter rivals, Crystal Palace. In fact, he scored within 25 seconds after being subbed on to replace teammate Pascal Groß. Brighton ended up winning the match 3:1.
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