Femi Solaja with agency report
Following his inactivity for more than 90 days due to injury and Covid-19 experience, Napoli Manager, Gennaro Gattuso, is yet to come to terms with Super Eagles forward, Victor Osimhen, who he said is yet to rediscover the form that brought him to the Naples team.
The AFCON 2019 bronze medal winner with Nigeria was handed his first start at Gewiss stadium in a Coppa Italia match against Atalanta but the 22-year-old was far from his best in a match Napoli lost and failed to book a place in the final of the Italian Cup.
Although he played for 79 minutes before he was substituted, the side lost 1-3 and the Nigerian struggled all through while in the field without notable impact.
“It’s not easy to be at the top of the game after being out for 94 days,” Gattuso told the club website yesterday.
“He’s still lacking that sharpness, which is his main asset, but he’s gradually making progress. He’s capable of much more,” he pointed out.
The former Golden Eaglet star recently returned to the Parthenopeans team after suffering a shoulder injury while on international duty with Nigeria in November last year in Benin against Sierra Leone.
The forward then contracted coronavirus after visiting Nigeria to celebrate his 22nd birthday and the yuletide season.
Subsequently, Osimhen did not play for the Stadio San Paolo outfit for more than 90 days and after watching the forward against Atalanta, Gattuso revealed the forward is still not at his best.
Napoli paid a club-record fee of €80 million to French club Lille in order to secure the signature of the Nigeria international last summer.
The 22-year-old has only made 13 appearances across all competitions this season, scoring two goals and providing one assist.
Osimhen will hope to deliver convincing showings when Napoli take on Juventus in their next league game on Saturday.
Napoli are winless in their last three games which ensured they dropped to the sixth spot on the league table after gathering 37 points from 20 games.
Nigeria national team coach Gernot Rohr will hope Osimhen returns to his impressive form before their 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in March.
The centre-forward has bagged four goals in the qualifiers to help the Super Eagles lead Group L with eight points.
Osimhen has 10 caps for the Nigeria national team since he made his debut against Togo in 2017 in a friendly.