Nigerian Players In EPL
When you thing of Nigeria, football is one of the first things that will cross your mind. Although this country hasn’t produced plenty of star players, some of them had or still have respectable careers in European football. We are going to highlight the most notable Nigerian football players that were or still play in English Premier League.
This robust centre-half played for a number of Premier League and Championship clubs and he made a total of 346 appearances in these two competitions. He had his peak in the early 2000s and Danny Shittu had the most successful career spell in Watford for which he played 30 games and scored two goals in 2001. He also has the experience of playing at the World Cup and African Cup of Nations as Danny participated in both tournaments in 2010. He made a total of 32 international appearances for Nigeria national team.
This young and talented footballer who joined Watford back in 2016 is the most expensive deal of that time as the Hornets payed £12.5m transfer fee. So far, he booked 12 appearances for the club and scored one goal. Isaac is capped at youth international level as he was the member of all Nigerian youth national teams. He is one of the biggest Nigerian talents who should keep improving and become a leader of the national team in the future.
This is probably the most familiar names in this list as Victor has been performing in the Premier League for several years. During his Premier League career, Moses changed six clubs: Crystal Palace, Wigan Athletic, Chelsea, Liverpool, Stoke City and West Ham United. He was the Champions League winner with the Blues, while he also made 21 appearances for the national team and scored nine goals.
Another player who was wearing Watford jersey and one of the instrumental players in the club’s promotion campaign back in 2015. During the following season, he scored a total of 15 goals and was named as the Player of the Month in December. The next season wasn’t as successful as the previous one and he made a move to Chinese Super League. Odion was part of Nigerian Olympics team in 2016 which won a bronze medal. The is currently priced at 3.40 odds to score in the next match according to a leading best UK betting tips site website.
Unlike the players presented so far in this article, Shola Ameobi is one of the most constant Nigerian players in the Premier League era. He spent 14 years at Newcastle United, making 312 appearances and scoring 53 goals. Interestingly, he is the player which made the most appearances from the bench in the Premier League. Although he was eligible to play for England, and although he made a number of England U-21 appearances, he played 10 times for Nigerian senior squad and also took participation in the 2014 World Cup.
Daniel has the honour of being the first Nigerian footballer to play in the Premier League. His good 1994 World cup performances bagged him a transfer to Everton. The investment in Amokachi’s transfer payed off in the FA Cup semi-finals when he scored brace against Tottenham Hotspur. Eventually, Everton lifted the FA Cup and Community Shield. In his 43 appearances for the Toffees, Daniel bagged ten goals. He also won a gold medal in the 1996 Olympic Games.
Victor is the product of Everton’s youth setup and he made a debut in the Premier League against Chelsea being just 17 years old. During his career spell for the Toffees, he scored 26 goals in 131 appearance and has been awarded Everton’s Reserve player of the year. In 2013 Anichebe made a move to West Bromwich Albion where he spent three seasons before joining Sunderland. He has been part of Nigerian national team at all levels.
This player joined Newcastle United in 2006 as already seasoned footballer as he was been playing for Inter previously. After a poor start in the new club, he managed to get back on track and score 17 goals in 46 appearances. Before his departure to Wolfsburg, Martins made 88 appearances and netted 28 goals for the Magpies. He is one of the most capped Nigerian players with 41 appearances and 18 goals in the national team.
Babayaro joined Chelsea in 1997 from Belgian giants Anderlecht and left a very deep mark in the club and Premier League as well. He made over 200 appearances for the Blues and found the back of the net five times. As a Chelsea player, he won the FA Cup, UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and the Super Cup. Celestine continued with his consistent performances in Newcastle United, however he was released according to the mutual agreement due to an injury. Babayaro is definitely one of the best Nigerian full-backs which also won a gold medal in the 1996 Olympic Games.
Yakubu started his Premier League journey in Portsmouth, where he played in 65 matches and produced 29 goals. in a record transfer fee, he moved to Middlesbrough in 2005 and led the club to the UEFA Cup finals that season. In his 73 appearances, he bagged 25 goals. Yakubu continued playing well for Everton as well where he scored 25 goals in 82 matches. Also, he is the third all-time scorer of Nigerian national team with 21 goals from 57 caps.
*John Obi Mikel
One of the most popular Nigerian players in the Premier League spent 10 seasons in Chelsea. He booked 249 appearances for the Blues where he lifted a number of trophies. John Obi Mikel also played 80 times for the national team.
One of Bolton’s icons and the most attractive players of his time. He put a great effort in saving the club from the relegation in his first season when he scored seven goals. His goal was voted the Premier League goal of the season, he took the captain’s armband as well and reached the FA Cup finals. In total, Jay-Jay Okocha made 124 appearances for the Wanderers and 75 national team caps.
Definitely, a legendary Nigerian player which played at world-class level. He joined Arsenal in 1999and scored 17 goals in 50 appearances that season. He became famous of his 15-minute hat-trick against Chelsea. After Thierry Henry signed for Arsenal, Kanu needed to move to West Bromwich Albion where he spent two years before making a move to Portsmouth. Kanu is also one of the most decorated Nigerian players.
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