NIGERIA’S 2020/21 EPL BEST X1

By Sulaiman Alao

Complete Sports takes a look at the Nigerian players who are currently playing their football trades in the English Premier League to select a team of 11 players that can represent Nigeria in major football competitions. The selection comprises a goalkeeper, defenders, midfielders, wingers, and attackers for a 3-5-2 formation. Players who dual nationality but have not shut the door on their fatherland made the list…

1 – Arthur Okonkwo 19 (GK Arsenal)
Little known Arthur Okonkwo is one of the two goalkeepers of Nigerian descent at the Arsenal youth team alongside 17-year old Ovie Ejeheri.

The 19-year-old currently stars for the Arsenal U-23 team but is often promoted to train with the first team especially for Cup games.
The London-born shot-stopper will be open to playing for Nigeria when he eventually comes of age.

2 – Ola Aina 24, (Defender, Fulham)
Nigerian international Ola Aina has been in superb form for Fulham where he has become a regular feature in only his first season with the Cottagers.

The 24-year old former Chelsea star is a regular feature for Fulham since joining the side from Italian Serie A side, Torino where he spent the last two seasons.
Aina has also become one of the Super Eagles’ most reliable defenders.

3 – Tosin Adarabioyo 23, (Defender, Fulham)
One of the most exciting players of Nigerian descent in the English Premier League is Tosin Adarabioyo who plays as a central defender for Fulham.

The 23-year old is featuring in his debut Premier League season and has started and played every minute in all his 19 appearances so far for the Cottagers.

Adarabioyo has represented England at U-16 through to U-19 levels but is still open to playing for Nigeria.

4 – Semi Ajayi 27, (Defender, West Brom)
Super Eagles defender Semi Ajayi has hit the ground running in only his debut Premier League season with West Bromwich Albion following their promotion last season.

The 27-year old has been a super regular feature posting solid displays for the Baggies who are battling to retain their Premier League status at the end of the season.

Ajayi in recent times is gradually edging his way to becoming a regular feature for the Super Eagles.

5 – Felix Nmecha 20, (Midfielder, Manchester City)
Though little is known about the German-born Felix Nmecha, being promoted to the Manchester City first team under Pep Guardiola speaks much of the prospect of the young midfielder.

The 20-year-old has featured for the Cityzens in the EFL Cup as well as bagging an assist on his Champions League debut as a substitute for Kevin De Bruyner in the 3-0 win over Olympiakos.

Nmecha has starred for England at the U16, U-18, and U-19 levels but is still open to play for Nigeria.

6 – Wilfred Ndidi 24, (Midfielder, Leicester City)
Wilfred Ndidi has grown to become one of the best defensive midfielders in the English Premier League since joining Leicester City from Genk in the 2016/17 season.

Ndidi commands a regular starting shirt in the Foxes line-ups where he has continued to churn out superlative performances for the King Power Stadium outfit.

The 24-year old is already an established player in the heart of the Super Eagles midfield.

7 – Eberechi Eze 22, (Midfielder, Crystal Palace)
Eberechi Eze is fast becoming one of the brightest midfield stars in only his first season in the English Premier League where he stars for Crystal Palace.

The 22-year old skillful player has represented England at the U-20 and U-21 levels but is now open to switching his full international allegiance to Nigeria.
Eze has continued to get rave reviews with his superb displays for Palace with England also looking to cap him fully.

8 – Alex Iwobi 24, (Winger, Everton)
Everton winger, Alex Iwobi has come a long way in the English Premier League since starting out his football career with the Arsenal cadet team and growing into the first team.

The elegant winger secured a 34 million pounds move to Everton last season where he has continued to feature as a regular player under the tutelage of top coach, Carlo Ancelotti.

The versatile 24-year old is already an established player in the Super Eagles setup.

9 – Kelechi Iheanacho 24. (Attacker, Leicester City)
Kelechi Iheanacho needs no introduction having become one of the most established Nigerian players playing his football trade in the English Premier League.

The 24-year old who started out with Manchester City is currently into his fourth season with Leicester City where he has continued to prove his mettle despite limited playing time.

Iheanacho however, remains one of the most prolific Super Eagles scorers in English football.

10 – Josh Maja 22, (Attacker, Fulham)
Josh Maja has hit the ground running in the English Premier League after grabbing a brace in his debut outing for Fulham in the 2-0 win against Everton recently at the Goodison Park.

Maja who completed a loan move from French Ligue 1 side, Bordeaux, on January transfer window deadline day move was contracted to help Fulham as they battle to escape relegation from the Premier League.
The 22-year old had also made his international debut with Nigeria against Ukraine in September 2019.

11 – Ademola Lookman 23, (Winger, Fulham)
Regarded as one of the best young players in England, Ademola Lookman has committed his full international future to Nigeria having previously starred for England at the U-19, U-20, and U-21 levels.

The 23-year old former Everton star who is now a Leipzig of Germany player is currently on loan at Fulham where he has teamed up with three other players of Nigerian descent. Lookman currently has three goals to his credit in 21 appearances for Fulham.

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