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5 things to know about Super Eagles forward Henry Onyekuru

Henry Onyekuru and Olcay Sahan

Here are things to know about the forward who replaced Odion Ighalo for the AFCON qualifier against South Africa.

Henry Onyekuru is expected to stake a claim for a starting spot in the Super Eagles following the injury to Chanchung Yatai forward Odion Ighalo.

Here are five things to know about Henry Onyekuru

1.    Henry Onyekuru is 21-years-old

Born in Onitsha,  Anambra Nigeria on  June,  5 1997 Henry Chukwuemeka Onyekuru is 21-years-old.

2.   Previous clubs

Henry Onyekuru began his youth career with Qatar independent government-funded agency Aspire Academy in 2010 after he was discovered in Nigeria.

 

Henry developed his skills while at the Academy which also getting educated from 2010 till 2015.

Unlike most Nigerian footballers who have a who may have played in the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) before their departure to Europe Onyekuru was able to achieve the feat from his academy in Qatar.

His first move to a European club side was to Belgian First Division A side K.A.S. Eupen in 2015.

It was at Eupen he had his first season a  professional footballer and helped them get the promotion to the first division.

His second season with Eupen saw him become a breakout star in Europe where he produced an outstanding campaign with over 20 goals which saw several clubs interested in his signature after his impressive performances compared to Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe.

He earned a move to Premier League giants Everton in 2017 for £7 million but was unable to get a work permit and was loaned back to Belgian heavyweights Anderlecht to continue his development.

After a severe injury which ruled him out of action for the second half of his loan spell, he returned to Everton for treatment.

He regained full fitness but was then loaned out to Turkish Super Lig outfit Galatasaray for the 2018/19 season.

3. Onyekuru and Nigeria

Born in Nigeria, Onyekuru did not have a youth or professional career before he left the shores of the country to the Aspire Academy.

There are reports however that he was supposed to be part of the Golden Eaglets team that won the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Qatar as he participated in training with them but was dropped for Leicester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho who was voted the best player of the tournament.

He did not represent Nigeria at U-20 and U-23 level either as he was still developing his game as a professional footballer at the Aspire Academy.

 

There were reports that he could change his allegiance to represent Qatar who are preparing to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

He, however, got his first invitation to the national team under Gernot Rohr for an international friendly win against Togo which he featured.

He was called up for a qualifier against Algeria and friendly game against Argentina but would eventually miss out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia due to a long-term injury suffered in his second season at Anderlecht.

 

He has become a key member of the Super Eagles after the world cup and scored his first goal in a friendly encounter against Liberia.

4. Style of play

Henry Onyekuru is a pacy forward who can play on either flank or centrally depending on the tactical instruction and set up.

His explosive pace and trickery are Onyekru’s major weapon but despite often played on the wing he has an incredible conversion ratio as a goalscorer.

One of his major asset is his ability to drive with the ball at goal just like Barcelona star Lionel Messi.

He stated that his idol is Arsenal great Thierry Henry whose mastery of putting the ball in the back of the net is similar.

With Victor Moses retired, Onyekuru faces competition for the Super Eagles starting spot with Bordeaux forward Samuel Kalu who has also been impressive in his recent showings.

 

5. Onyekuru awards

Onyekeru is yet to with any collective awards with the Nigerian national team at any level.

He, however, was awarded the Belgium Talent of the Year award following his first season with K.A.S Eupen in the Belgian top flight and also won the Belgian Super Cup with Anderlecht.

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