In the 2020/2021 season, Nigerian players achieved huge successes individually and collectively for their respective club sides in Europe, Sportivation.com.ng reports.
And having had such a glamorous season, these players are expected to consolidate on the successes of the previous season and achieve even more laudable feats in the coming 2021/2022 season.
For this to happen, some of the Nigerian contingents have opted to play in the ever-competitive and demanding English Premier League, where the big things happen, some are just returning to the Premier League from relegation while some are already in the league hitherto.
At sportivation.com.ng, we take a critical look at a couple of players that should be watched out for in the new English Premier League season that kick-starts in August.
Frank Onyeka – Brentford
Frank, 23, is the new kid on the block who will have lots of eyes on him in the upcoming Premier League season.
His pace, power and all-around performance especially in last season’s UEFA Champions League propelled him to make a move to The Bees.
In recent years, the erstwhile FC Midtjylland midfielder who penned a five year deal with the Premier League newcomers a few days ago has been one of the most highly-rated players in the Danish league. And as a result, has earned praises for his maturity and versatility.
Meanwhile, Brentford manager, Thomas Frank said has heaped more praises on the Nigerian lad after he arrived; describing him as a dynamic player and that he’s looking forward to working with him in the Premier League.
Emmanuel Dennis – Watford
Actually, there’s a couple of Nigerian players in The Hornets’ team namely William Troost-Ekong, Oghenekaro Etebo, Issac Success and the club’s latest signing upfront; Emmanuel Dennis.
Considering the fact that Issac Success’ stint at Watford hasn’t been successful, Emmanuel Dennis will have a chance to bank on Success’ limited chances of playing consistently in the starting eleven and at the same time vie for a place in the team.
In addition, because he’s capable of playing anywhere in the front line, he’s already gotten an advantage over Issac Success who will undoubtedly feel the presence of the 23-year-old.
Emmanuel Dennis has spent the past four seasons with Club Brugge in the Belgian League, scoring 29 goals across the Jupiler Pro League, Champions League, Europa League and Domestic Cups.
He spent the second half of last season on loan at a German Bundesliga side, FC Koln.
Kelechi Iheanacho – Leicester City
Are you raising an eyebrow over Iheanacho’s inclusion? Freaking No.
Last season was a glorious one for Iheanacho at Leicester. The 24-year-old forward was tremendous for the majority of the second half of last season for The Foxes, setting and breaking records in the process.
It’s therefore expedient for a player who despite seeing his playing time impeded by the presence of an ageing Jamie Vardy and still went to break his personal goalscoring record of eight goals in the league in one season (which was achieved after 26 matches in 2015/2016 campaign at Manchester City) to consolidate on his impressive goalscoring form.
When the new season begins, Senior Man Kelz will be the only Premier League player with most goals (11 goals) since March 2021. This is why there will be some massive expectations from the Leicester fans on Iheanacho to continue from where he stopped last term.
William Troost-Ekong – Watford
For every Harry Maguire at Manchester United, Ruben Dias at Manchester City and a Thiago Silva at Chelsea, there’s another reliable center back at the Vicarage Road, William Troost Ekong.
Since Ekong landed at the Vicarage Road last year, the only goal he’s dreamt of achieving is clinching a qualification into the English Premier League with Watford.
And Watford’s progression into the EPL wouldn’t have been possible without Ekong’s resilience and doggedness at the heart of The Hornets’ defence.
The 27-year-old Super Eagles vice-captain played thirty-two league matches for Watford last season in the ever-competitive English Championship, starting thirty-one and he averaged eighty-four minutes per game in all.
Amidst all the aforementioned, Ekong exhibited some defensive qualities for Watford too. Therefore, for him to have done it in the English Championship, he could replicate his defensive abilities in the Premier League and earn the “one of the best defenders” tag.
Alex Iwobi – Everton
For a player like Alex, starting just seventeen matches out of thirty league matches played is not a feat to be proud about, but it’s understandable given that he’s not one of Everton’s go-to players. Besides, he was played out of position for most of the times he featured for The Toffees.
But with the arrival of Rafael Benitez at Goodison Park, things should change for the gifted midfielder.