By James Agberebi:
Super Eagles new invitee Henry Onyekuru has confirmed that English Premier League club Arsenal have made a move to sign him from Belgian top flight club Eupen, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
According to reports, Arsenal made a £6.8million offer to Eupen for the services of Onyekuru who scored 24 goals in 41 appearances in all competitions last season.
Onyekuru, 19, who was part of the Super Eagles squad that drew 1-1 against Corsica and beat Togo 3-0 in France, in a video interview with the Nigeria Football Federation, discussed Arsenal legend Thierry Henry, Super Eagles’ 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying chances, his thoughts on getting his first senior national team call-up and the kind of reception he got from the senior players.
“It is a good feeling that a club like Arsenal are coming to Eupen,” Onyekuru said.
“Like I said before it’s due to the hard work I kept doing in training and in games. So I’m waiting and working towards it and we see how it (the Arsenal move) goes after the qualifier (against South Africa).
“I am very happy being compared to Thierry Henry because he has always been my idol since I was a kid. I love watching him play.
“Then at home I love watching Arsenal and going through YouTube to watch most of his games. I remember too in the Belgian press, I said if I have to move, I would move to the Premier League and I want to be like Thierry Henry. So it’s just like a dream come true and I’m working towards it at the moment.
“In football, you cannot predict anything (on Super Eagles missing back-to-back AFCONs), and anything is possible in football. It’s not that that we don’t have a good team but we were not just lucky enough to be there.
“But now with the team spirit and work of the coaches and staff, I believe we are going to make it this time.
“The staff, coaches and senior players have all been kind. They’ve been showing a lot of love to me, taking me as a brother and trying to give me confidence in the field because it’s my first national camp so a lot of encouragement from them and advice.
“So I’m happy to be among them. I will learn a lot from the big players, staff and coach.”
On the possibility of him being selected for the game against South Africa for next Saturday’s 2019/Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Uyo, Onyekuru said: “I would be happy. It is a great pleasure to be part of the team representing the country. It’s a good feeling. And it’s always the first dream of every young player to represent his country, to wear the green shirt. Seeing your family happy and giving them joy is a good feeling and I am very happy that I made the team for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.”
On how his football career started, Onyekuru narrated: ” I was born in Lagos, Nigeria, but I am from Imo State. I got into the Aspire Academy in 2011 when I was scouted in Lagos to join the academy in Qatar for the final test.
“I went there and I succeeded and was among the 10 to be in the academy then. So I spent four-and-a half years in the academy, both schooling and playing football.
“So I arrived in Belgium last two years in the summer when the club (Eupen) were still in the second division and I was with them when they got promoted to the first division. It was my first time in the first division.
“I got my chance to play with the team because in the second division they had lots of experienced players so I was waiting for my time to come. I finally got the chance to play and I got the confidence from the big players and coach who kept pushing me and gave me advice on how to work hard because I was the youngest in the team and now I’m in the Super Eagles, I’m thankful.”