Nigerian Wonderkid That Europe’s Top Clubs Are Queuing Up To Sign

By Daily sports on April 16, 2021

Views: 757

A 17-year-old Nigerian football whizkid Carney Chukwuemeka, who has likened himself to Paul Pogba, is on the radar of the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Juventus.

Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City were all linked with Chukwuemeka before he signed his first professional contract in October with Aston Villa, while Bayern Munich and Juventus have since reportedly joined the queue for a player who has been earning rave reviews ever since arriving at Villa from Northampton Town at the age of 12.

“We have one right now, probably the best 16-year-old in England, Carney (Chukwuemeka),” Villa CEO and ex-Liverpool and Chelsea managing director, Christian Purslow, told the club’s Supporters’ Trust AGM last season.

“Absolutely no debate, he’s starting for the Under-23s. That’s what you want with your 16-year-olds.”

Born in Austria to Nigerian parents, Chukwuemeka was plucked from Northampton having joined the Cobblers’ academy alongside his older brother, Caleb, who still plays as a forward for the League One outfit.

Now 17, the younger Chukwuemeka sibling has taken his game to a new level this season, with only two players – Man City duo James McAtee and Tommy Doyle – having provided more than his six assists across the two Premier League 2 divisions.

Despite his age, the 6'1" (185cm) youngster has developed into one of the most imposing midfielders in English youth football, and though he will likely need to fill out more when he is promoted to the senior game, his footballing intelligence combined with his physical attributes mark him out as being supremely gifted.

A central midfielder who is not afraid to pick up the ball in tight areas and with decision-making ability that belies his lack of experience, Chukwuemeka has previously likened himself to Paul Pogba.

There is also a hint of Dele Alli about his game, and Chukwuemeka has this season been encouraged to replicate the Tottenham star in increasing his attacking output.

Though that has not resulted in a huge influx of goals – he has just one for the U23s, two for the U18s in the FA Youth Cup and one for England U18s – his performance against Wolves in March, where he laid on three assists for team-mates, suggests he is close to unlocking his full potential in the final third.

“We’re starting to see a little bit more of what he’s about,” Villa U23s boss Mark Delaney told the Birmingham Mail in February.

“We’ve talked to him about scoring more goals, being more positive with his runs, both with and without the ball, and getting himself in that final third to rack up some assists and more goals.

“We spoke about him being more proactive with and without the ball.

“He’s a confident lad; will receive the ball anywhere on the pitch, under pressure and not under pressure. That’s what the manager [Smith] likes; he comes into an environment and settles in quickly.

“We’ve got high hopes for him, like a lot of our players. He’s still only 17 and he’s got a lot of development left in him. We've just got to make sure we’re pushing and stretching him all of the time.”

That development saw Chukwuemeka finally make the first-team bench for February’s loss to Leicester City, and with Smith’s side safe in mid-table heading into the final run-in, a Premier League debut for the England youth international might not be out of the question before the season is done.

Barry, too, will be keen to get a run-out at the highest level after the 17-year-old’s cup heroics, while a lot is also expected of Aaron Ramsey (18), Lamare Bogarde (17) and Jaden Philogene-Bidace (19) at Villa Park.

But Chukwuemeka looks to be the real diamond. With Bellingham already a potential superstar, the city of Birmingham may well have developed the future of England's midfield.

•Adapted from a Goal report. PHOTO: Soccer whizkid Carney Chukwuemeka

Source Daily sports

Posted April 16, 2021


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