Napoli manager Luciano Spalletti has commended Victor Osimhen’s psychological strength ahead of the Super Eagles striker returning from a lengthy injury layoff.
Osimhen suffered a freak face injury on November 21 following a horrific clash of heads with Inter defender Milan Skriniar.
The Nigerian’s multiple facial fractures were corrected through a surgery that required six plaques and 18 screws, and he was expected to be sidelined for about three months.
However, Osimhen’s desire to get back in the game he loved was evident when, a couple of weeks after his operation, he started individual training.
The former Lille forward after that made himself available and was selected for Nigeria’s challenge at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
But Osimhen later pulled out of the competition after contracting COVID-19 last month, the second time he has been infected.
All that is behind Osimhen now, with the 23-year-old returning to team training this week with the aid of a protective mask.
He has been named in Napoli’s squad for Monday’s Serie A game between Napoli and Bologna, a full month ahead of schedule.
And Spalletti has held Osimhen’s inner strength and courage responsible for his quick return to action.
“There are those who immediately let us glimpse what strength and courage they have,” Napoli said at the press conference ahead of today’s contest.
“Osimhen is one who, only to see him go and attack his opponents and to press by making three or four beats on the defensive line plus the goalkeeper, he immediately makes it clear that contact with the opponent does not cause him any discomfort. Let alone if contact with the ball gives him pain.”
In Osimhen’s absence, Napoli have won just four of eleven matches in all competitions. But Il Partenopei remain third on the Italian Serie A table, seven points behind leaders Inter Milan and five fewer than second-place AC Milan.