Luke Amos Quest to Represent Fatherland

0

Though Luke Amos had represented England at the age-grade level; the London-born Nigerian has never hidden his quest to represent the country of his father-Nigeria at the senior level

Tottenham Hotspur-owned midfielder, Luke Amos has stated that he was open to represent the Nigeria national team in his latest social media post. Though born in London, Amos qualifies to represent the Super Eagles through his Nigerian father, but it’s England who had approached him first and he has two caps for the Young Lions at U-18 level.

When sounded out about the prospect of turning out for the Super Eagles, the Queens Park Rangers star refused to rule out the possibility of switching his international allegiance from England to Nigeria.

There’s every indication that Amos is on the radar of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), with Super Eagles manager Gernot Rohr recently stating that there were some good Nigeria-eligible players in Queens Park Rangers, without revealing their identities.

Amos posted on Instagram with a photo of him wearing a Super Eagles training kit: “PROUD NIGERIAN. Not so proud of no trim for three months but truly thankful for the life I live and for all that I am. (As you can tell I’m also proud of my 1st ever BBQ.”

Amos does not have to apply for a change of association because the two games he played for England U-18s were non-binding – friendlies against Switzerland and Russia in 2015.

The 23-year-old has featured in 25 matches for Queens Park Rangers in the Championship this season and registered his name on the score sheet twice.

Meanwhile, Amos has revealed his battles with injuries, changing positions and competing with the likes of now England star Harry Winks and talented youngster Josh Onomah.

The 23-year-old joined Spurs as a winger, but then had spells in the number 10 role and both full-back positions during his youth team days before eventually settling in his familiar central midfield berth.

At age 16, he earned his academy scholarship and, at school, achieved eight A-grade GCSEs – including one in French – and two A*s in Geography and Physics.

It got a little tougher as a nasty bout of Osgood-Schlatter disease (inflammation of the pateller ligament) impacted his performances and the emergence of Onomah and Winks at Spurs saw his playing time reduced.

“Looking back, it all makes sense, but at age 16-17, I didn’t know what I was doing. I shot up in height and lost all of my coordination,” Amos told the QPR website.

“I was never the most confident when I was younger either and I would compare myself to other players – teammates and opponents – and make myself feel inferior. It was really hard.

“It’s so natural to compare yourself, everyone does it, but it doesn’t benefit you at all. I’m not like that now. I’m not intimidated by any player and am in a good place.”

A brief loan spell at Southend United gave Amos his first taste of senior football in 2017 and 12 months later he made the temporary switch to Stevenage.

The rough-and-tumble of regular League Two football saw him return to Spurs, in his own words, “as a man” and that summer he headed to America on Tottenham’s pre-season tour.

On the opening day of the season, he came off the bench to help Spurs to a Premier League victory away at Newcastle United and it seemed only a matter of time before he would earn a first start for the club.

But in the final week of September 2018, he was disappointed not to be named in Mauricio Pochettino’s squad to play Watford in the EFL Cup and, at the same time, the Amos family were told by their landlord that he needed his house back.

On the Friday of that week, Amos travelled to Blackburn for an U-23s match and, 20 minutes into the match, he went to close down an opponent and that would prove to be his last involvement in a competitive match for 11 months.

“It was one freak moment. I went to press – I must have done that a million times in my life – but this one time I went to turn then everything in my knee just crunched and clicked,” he said.

“I instantly thought ‘I’ve worked so hard for so long to get into this position and now it’s all going to be taken away from me. I’m so close to the first team, so close to the Premier League’. That’s all I could think about.

“I limped to the changing room by myself and when I got in there I just started crying. My knee swelled up straight away, the pain was unbearable and the doctors gave me loads of pain killers, but it wouldn’t stop it.”

Amos was met by his dad at Spurs’ training ground after a long, painful journey home and a scan a week later revealed the full extent of the injury.

“Best-case scenario, I was hoping six weeks and in my head, I thought realistically it’s going to be three months. I thought I’d push it and would be back in January,” he added.

His reality and the actual reality proved to be very different. Amos had ruptured his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and by the January he was still waiting for the green light to begin running in straight lines again.

A visit to the Aspetar clinic in Qatar provided Amos with a healthy change of scenery during his rehab and many tears of pain and anguish were shed as he fought his way back to full fitness over the next nine months.

“I can remember every day of my recovery but, at the same time, it is like a blur. I tried to maximise every single second that I had and I found energy that I didn’t know I had,” he said.

“I’d been on top of the world, was training with the first team and was one pick away from starting in the Premier League and I wanted to get back into that position as quickly as possible.

“There were days that were overwhelming, where I’d be in the gym and would have to go and hide in the altitude chamber to let some tears out and then get back into the gym.”

He added: “Emotionally, that was just as hard as physically. I had a lot of people around me who felt my pain and that helped me a lot.

“What was also really hard was when the team were doing well. I remember when Tottenham got into the semi-final of the Champions League and everyone was so happy and excited, but I was on my own working in the gym thinking ‘I’ve potentially missed one of the biggest moments of my life’.

“It made me so determined to get back, though. That was the positive, if you like.

“Sometimes I’d be asking for more and the physios would say ‘no, go home’ so I’d sneak into the academy gym where they couldn’t see me and do some extra work on my upper body. I know I couldn’t have worked any harder.”