Awoniyi Craves for Super Eagles Chance

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Liverpool loanee, Taiwo Awoniyi believes he has done enough to get a call-up to the Nigeria national team.

The forward has represented the West Africans at the U17, U20 and U23 levels but has struggled to gain attention from the senior national team coaches.

Awoniyi’s teammates at the youth level Leicester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho and APOEL goalkeeper Francis Uzoho have become a key member of the Super Eagles while Watford striker Isaac Success has also been given a chance in the past.

The 22-year-old has been with Liverpool since 2015 but has spent his time on loan featuring for FSV Frankfurt, NEC, Royal Excel Mouscron, Gent and recently Mainz.

Awoniyi has impressed during his temporary move away from the Premier League club but in the 2019-20 season, the striker was restricted to 12 league games owing to a number of reasons, including injury problems.

The Imperial Soccer Academy graduate is looking forward to getting an opportunity to feature for the Super Eagles under manager Gernot Rohr.

“I’m happy for Kelechi Iheanacho and Uzoho because they are deserving of the opportunity,” Awoniyi told BBC Sport.

“Personally, I feel like I deserve a chance. I recall when I was playing well and scoring goals in Belgium. Nigeria had a friendly game and I thought I had done enough to get a look in that would hopefully enhance my quest for a UK work permit, but I was overlooked.

“You begin to understand that it’s not something you can control or have power over. You just need to enjoy what you do and keep on working hard.”
Awoniyi, whose loan with Mainz ended at the end of 2019-20 season has spoken highly of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

“Jurgen Klopp’s a man everyone is happy to be around. When I was going to Mainz last year he wished me luck because he is highly revered over there,” he continued.

“And during my first year of professional football in 2015, many of my teammates talked about him at FSV Frankfurt and meeting him again shows how much he’s loved by people. His personality illustrates the success in Mainz, Dortmund.”

Awoniyi could spend the 2020-21 season on another loan as he is yet to secure a work permit that would enable him to play for Liverpool.