The arrival of Frank Onyeka at newly promoted English Premier League side, Brentford FC, has been greeted with great joy by Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr due to the fact that it will bring competition to Nigeria’s defensive midfield that has been dominated by Wilfred Ndidi.
Onyeka, who has been described by Brentford coach, Thomas Frank, as a very dynamic player, who is adept as a box-to-box player, will be determined to make a quick impression when the Premier League kicks off in August.
Signed from the Danish club side, Midtjylland on a five-year contract for an undisclosed fee, the Nigerian international has definitely put himself in the spotlight for the senior national team more opportunities ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2022 Africa Cup of Nations.
Recall that at the international level, Onyeka received his first Nigeria call-up in 2020. He was selected for friendly matches last October and made his international debut against Algeria – his only appearance to date.
Onyeka was part of the FC Midtjylland side that won the Superliga in 2017/18, playing 15 games. He helped them win the title again in 2019/20 and the Danish Cup in 2019. He played in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League for Midtjylland, and l left Denmark after making an impressive mark – 123 appearances with 17 goals.
However, questions have been raised by football lovers in the country, on how Onyeka’s arrival will be of great value to the Super Eagles, especially in view of the fact that he plays in the same position with Ndidi.
At 6 feet tall, Onyeka is well built and is very strong. His aggressive pressing style and timely tackles are what really stand him out. He’s something of a ball-winning machine and knows when to launch counterattacks.
Onyeka possesses impressive pace and is able to cover ground quickly, his lateral movement is particularly impressive as he is able to cover the width of the pitch and protect his backline very well. Combining this with his strength and aggression in tackles makes him extremely difficult for attackers to hold off and resist.
Away from his raw physical attributes, Onyeka also demonstrates good intelligence in off-the-ball situations. He is seemingly omnipresent across the pitch at times.
No doubt, Onyeka will be watching Ndidi as he learn the ropes. The Leicester star has established himself in the Premier League and also in the Super Eagles and boasts loads of experience.
However, it will definitely be an interesting duel for both players when The Bees confront The Foxes in the Premier League. And more when it comes down to fight for shirts in the Super Eagles.
Will Onyeka’s arrival at Brentford mean more development for the 23-year-old Ebedei FC product that can bring tough competition for Ndidi in the Super Eagles? Can Onyeka come good enough to end Ndidi’s monopoly of the defensive midfielder role in the Super Eagles, or will the former Nath Boys Academy product stand firm as Gernot Rohr’s first-choice midfield trojan?
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By Augustine Akhilomen
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