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U20 W/Cup: Iheanacho, Success Will Start From Nigeria Bench

Europe-based strikers Isaac Success, Kelechi Iheanacho and Moses Simon are most likely to start the U20 World Cup from the bench as coach Manu Garba plans to integrate them gradually into his team in New Zealand.

The Europe-based stars did not turn up at a training camp in Nurnberg, Germany, and would instead head directly to New Zealand for the tournament.

But coach Manu has maintained he does not plan to rush them into his first team from the start of the World Cup.

“We are not saying these players will come in automatically to the first team, they will be coming in gradually for them to find a synergy with the other players,” he revealed.

“They will not get into the team in the very first match, they will sit on the bench and observe and whenever we need them, they will come on to do the damage.”

He further argued that these players will have no problem blending with the rest of the team at the World Cup.

“I don’t have any fear (about blending) because these players have been with us,” he said.

“Even Moses Simon was with us in the early part of the U17 team before he went on to play for the U20 team. He may not know our philosophy, but for Kelechi and Success, they know how we play right from the U17s. Kelechi even played the qualifiers.

“All the same, it will not be difficult for Moses because he played in the same academy in Kaduna with Musa Yahaya and he is a striker who knows when and how to move. It will be easy for him to adapt.

“We have two, three training sessions together (in New Zealand) and they will again know how we play and what we want them to contribute to the team.”

He added: “They are all coming from competition and so you can’t fault their fitness level.

“And the language of the game is simple – If you have the ball, before you release it, you have to look up and see the movement of your player. If the other player has the ball, you have to move to a vital space to receive the ball.

“I believe getting that cohesion will not be very difficult because two of them, Kelechi and Success, have been with this team, while Moses will adapt very quickly.

“We will sit them down to show them what we expect them to do. I believe they will adapt because they are young players and very, very intelligent.” 

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