Isaac Success only appeared in Nigeria’s first two matches at the 2013 FIFA U- 17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates before injury condemned him to the bench for the rest of the competition. However, his potential was not lost to scouts and it came as no surprise when in November of the same year, Udinese of Italy requested for his signature. This season, he moved over to Watford in the English Premier League for a club record fee. Last weekend, Success came in from the bench to score his first goal for the club. He is hoping that his equaliser against Bournemouth could convince his coach for a first team start, reports Kunle Adewale
Isaac Success would have loved to crown his penultimate weekend performance in the Premier League with a first match for the Super Eagles during the FIFA World Cup qualifier against Zambia, but this won’t happen. Success had a knock that made it difficult for him to walk and had since been replaced by Enugu Rangers’ Chisom Egbuchulam.
In spite of not starting since the beginning of the season, Success insists he is not getting tired of the super-sub tag he gets at Vicarage Road, after scoring his first Watford goal only seven minutes into his latest appearance from the bench. His 65th-minute header earned the Hornets a point in their 2-2 draw with Bournemouth with Success again playing a significant role from the bench, five days after he had looked the brightest spark in a dismal performance for the Golden Boys at Burnley.
The 20-year-old has always made a big impact each time he came on for the Hornets this season, and will have strengthened calls to receive a first start of the campaign when Watford next turn out at Middlesbrough after the international break.
But Success is not worried about when he will finally see his name in Walter Mazzarri’s starting 11.
He said: “I’m a Watford player and if I get a chance to play in any way, I have to help the team, even if it’s only two or three minutes. It’s not really a relief to score my first goal, it’s a goal for the team and me, but I’m happy about it. It’s not frustrating being a substitute, I’m just happy to be among the 18 players selected for the game. Every time I get to play, I just want to help the team. I just have to keep working hard and see what comes up.
“I brought a lot of energy to the team when I came on, that’s what I’m about. As a striker, I’m ready to play anywhere in the forward line and it’s just up to the coach to give me the instruction where in particular I have to play.”
Success replaced Ighalo in Mazzarri’s side last weekend, but after their respective performances at Burnley, it was somewhat of a surprise that the change was made shortly after half-time rather than in the starting 11.
He said: “I have always looked up to him. He’s very calm, he told me how to be like that on the pitch. I’m not trying to take his place. Every player in the team deserves chances to get into the team and I just want to play. I don’t know if I’m taking someone’s position but he’s a good player. When I scored, the first thing I did was look at the bench and he was celebrating more than me, and I was really happy. He’s an African brother. He’s like a big brother to me.”
Success received special praise from his Watford boss, Walter Mazzarri, after scoring his first goal for the club since joining from Udinese in the summer.
Reacting to Success’ goal, Mazzarri described him as an excellent player, who believes he could improve. “He is an excellent player and he has showed it in the past, not only today, He can improve a lot in defensive parts, but he deserves it because every time he’s come on he’s showed he can help the team,” the Italian coach told the Watford official website.
Rayo Vallecano coach, Paco Jemez, who will be pleased to see the back of Success in La Liga said: “He is a strong and powerful player, and that allows them to play a direct and incisive game in certain areas of the pitch. He has been creating a lot of danger and is one of their most important players.”
Salva Ruiz, Success’ former teammate at Granada, indeed said he was “one of the strongest guys I’ve ever seen”.
Nick Dorrington is a freelance football writer and the author of Scout’s Notebook, who has followed the burgeoning career of Success closely wrote: “He is still raw and needs to work on his end product in order to become more consistently decisive for his side, but if he can avoid off-field distractions and remain focused on his development, he looks to have all the attributes necessary to become a very useful top-level forward in the coming years.”
While the former Nigerian junior international is excited about life in England and playing alongside his countryman Odion Ighalo, he admits he left Granada with a heavy heart.
“Today is a bittersweet day for me. I want to say goodbye to my colleagues and all employees of the club who have both supported me since I came to Granada, and this city that has given me everything,” he wrote in a farewell letter to the club’s supporters. “Heartfelt thanks to all who have been there, I feel if on occasion I have not given everything that was expected of me, but my intention has always been to give our best every day. Now I begin another professional stage that would not have been possible without my learning and development in the Granada.”
Born in Benin, Success started his football career with local side, BJ Foundation Academy after which he left for Caitlin Fallows.
In November 2013, Success agreed to a five-year deal with Udinese, being effective in January, for a €400,000 fee. However, he was only granted a work permit in March of the following year, and immediately joined Granada, being assigned to the reserves in Segunda Division B. In July 2016, Success agreed a five-year deal with Watford in a record transfer fee, estimated around £12.5 million.