Super Eagles hopeful Chidera Ejuke has been in the news of late having been linked with a move to Dutch giants Ajax and him been said to be patient for his national team opportunity.
It is difficult for me jump for joy at discovering a talent in a department that is already saturated with quality options for the Super Eagles at the moment, like the flanks.
In fact, Nigeria has a conveyor belt that seems to produce winger after winger which makes the discovery of the next speed demon more of an expectation than a hope.
Ejuke Chidera is a promising winger no doubt however he plays in a very crowded field where the established players in that position are up to the job and quite flamboyant in their own rights.
Moses Simon, Samuel Kalu, Samuel Chukwueze, Alex Iwobi, Ahmed Musa and Dennis Bonaventure are all highly credible wingers at our disposal. That said, throwing Ejuke into the mix can only help established players not to get complacent.
However, on a good day, who can he dislodge?
According to transfermarkt.com, Ejuke can play as a left winger, right winger or attacking midfielder which instantly puts all the players I named in the previous paragraph on notice.
For me, it is not a case of whether the 22 year old Heerenven winger is better than any of the options we currently have. Rather, it is whether the performances of any of the established players for Nigeria warrant the search for viable replacement.
Start with Samuel Kalu, he is a consistent strong performer for Nigeria who can be trusted to almost regularly deliver 7/10 ratings display in national colours. The same can be said of Moses Simon who is more solid than spectacular these days with displays that balance attacking threats with defensive solidity.
Samuel Chukwueze is up and coming and has provided mature displays for Nigeria when called up. Iwobi is near-untouchable with his all round versatility and an engine room that is always in ‘Perpetual Motion’ when in Nigeria colours.
Having said all that, if Ejuke can prove to be as truly versatile as transfermarkt.com states, then he should still be able to carve out a place for himself where it seems uncarvable.
When the opportunity does present itself, Ejuke will do himself a world of good to prove speedily that he can translate club performances in international setting, something that is difficult to achieve than it usually seems.
The players he will be hoping to displace might actually not be a skillful as he is but these are all seasoned international players who scarcely disappoint when they wear their national team jerseys.
If he thinks his skills alone will guarantee success in international football, he might be in for a rude awakening!
His skills are a good start. How he plays in sync with new colleagues (drawn from different clubs) and works with them to get the best out of the team in a highly political environment will be key to determining how this novice of international football will dislodge those who have been playing the game and playing it well (on and off the pitch) for quite some time.