The hope of setting the Spanish La Liga alight much the same way he shone like a million stars in Austria did not happen and the question on many fans' lips is that will Olanrewaju Kayode do enough to cement a place in Nigeria’s world cup squad?
Kayode was fantastically ruthless in the Austrian League last season with 1 goal in almost every 2 matches.
A clinical finisher inside the 18 yard box, Larry (as he is known in Europe), is also a speedster who can peel off defenders to run into space, receive passes, hold up play and finish with precision.
Having being used predominantly as a substitute, the striker did not get enough opportunity to shine in Girona. He scored 0 goals in all competition in Spain.
This was in part due to the blistering form of his team mate Christian Stuani whom Kayode was unable to displace in the starting line up. The Uruguay Striker is a big, strong and powerful centre forward whose 10 goals in 17 matches for Girona this season has been pivotal in keeping the club afloat in the Spanish La Liga.
In the Nigerian national team, there is also much (fierce) competition.
Ighalo scored in a key world cup qualifying match and was a solid team contributor in another; Iheanacho has scored key goals; Iwobi (as a support striker) continued to find the back of the net in key matches; while Musa provided goal assists in world Cup qualifying and friendly matches.
It seems like wherever Kayode looks, club or country, he needs to do more.
The quality of Larry’s game is undeniable. He is always hungry and available to play for his country with the sort of commitment, devotion and patriotism that can only be admired.
At club level, his commitment to the cause is also unquestionable.
Despite limited opportunities at Girona, it is noteworthy that in the only match he played all 90 minutes (vs Deportivo on the 23rd of October 2017), Larry was too hot to handle.
His contributions led directly to the 2 goals scored by Girona to win the match 2:1.
The foul Larry drew in the 18 yard box led to the first goal via a penalty while his delicious headed pass in 71 minutes was latched on by Portu to smash in their second goal.
With the FIFA world cup just around the corner, Kayode’s club fortunes will be expected to improve exponentially for him to stand any chance of making the team.
The skills, talent, potential, hunger and desire are all there. All that is required is a platform to showcase these on a regular basis.