Destiny Udogie Will Nigeria Cash-in After Azzurri’s Snub?

With Destiny Udogie snubbed for the umpteenth time by the Azzurri Manager, Roberto Mancini, the eggheads of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, can swing into action and lure the defender of Nigerian descent to pitch tent with the Super Eagles after he initially turned down an offer

Despite strong links with the Nigerian senior football team-Super Eagles, 19-year-old Udinese defender, Destiny Udogie has always reiterated his desire to play for the Azzurris, most especially after playing for Italy at all age-grade competitions.

Udogie was born in Italy to Nigerian parents and even though he has represented the European country at youth level, he is still eligible to play for the Super Eagles.

He has always expressed his desire to represent Italy at senior level and is determined to keep working hard in order to achieve his objective in spite of not having been called up.

“I will do everything to make myself appreciated by the coach, it is a goal that I particularly care about,” the youngster told Tuttomercatoweb.

The 19-year-old wing-back is looking to settle his international future after he was initially snubbed by the Italian national team coach, Roberto Mancini despite his brilliant season.

Udogie has been a part of the Italian youth system from the U-16 to the U-21, giving the European nation a significant advantage over his allegiance.

But the versatile young defender remains eligible to represent three-time African champions, Nigeria, through his parents.

The fullback, Destiny Udogie is reportedly on the radar of the Nigeria Football Federation, with a view to convincing him to play for the Super Eagles.

The Udinese wonder kid and Golden Boy nominee was snubbed by manager Roberto Mancini for Italy’s UEFA Nations League matches against England and Hungary.

Had he been invited to the Azzurri and figured in any of the two matches, he would have become cap-tied to his country of birth.

According to various reports in the Italian media, including Mondo Udinese, Nigeria failed in their first attempt to lure Udogie to the Super Eagles and it is not certain that they will not try to the end.

Udogie has been provisionally cap tied to Italy since March 2019 when he played his first competitive game for their U17 team in a European Championship qualifier against Romania.

He has had a fine start to the 2022-2023 season with two assists in six appearances for Udinese, who are third in the table after seven rounds.

Indeed, Udinese manager, Andrea Sottil expressed surprise that the defender of Nigerian descent is not in Roberto Mancini’s Italy squad for their UEFA Nations League fixtures.

Mancini invited 29 players for the clashes against England and Hungary, but snubbed left-back Udogie, picking Federico Dimarco (Inter Milan) and Emerson Palmieri(West Ham)instead.

 “These decisions surprised me. I respect Roberto Mancini’s choices, but I was still surprised. I think Udogie is one of the best full-backs in the league, he proves that all the time,” Sottil told Football Italia.

The 19-year-old played 79 minutes for Udinese on Sunday in their 3-1 home win against Inter Milan, a result which took the club to third place in Serie A.

Udogie has before now said he was looking forward to being a part of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar later in the year, but unfortunately both countries he is eligible to play for-Italy and Nigeria failed to qualify for Mundial in Qatar.

“Going to the World Cup is the greatest dream because it is played for the whole country. For me, it would be a great satisfaction,” Udogie had said.

By the time the last edition of the Mundial kicked off four years ago in Russia, Udogie was still a starry-eyed 15-year-old slugging it out in the Hellas Verona youth academy, unsure of what the future held for him.

Fast forward to the present times, and the 19-year-old has had his best of times in Serie A last season, where he made 29 appearances, scored against AC Milan at the San Siro, and netted the goal that shot down Sampdoria.

Udogie has been a part of the Italian youth system from the U-16 to the U-21, giving the European nation a significant advantage over his allegiance.

But the versatile young defender remains eligible to represent three-time African champions, Nigeria, through his parents.

Super Eagles boast of very good left-back options in Paderborn’s Jamilu Collins, Porto’s Zaidu Sanusi and Rangers’ Calvin Bassey. Still, Udogie could gate-crash the party if he maintains his upward trajectory.

The young defender, however, makes it clear that he shares a relationship with his Nigerian father and still listens to his instructions, which are helping his development.

“My father always tells me to stay calm, to enjoy the moment, to play carefree and not to freak out because I’m still young,” the on-loan Hellas Verona lad said.

“I try to follow these tips. I try to  enjoy Serie A and the moment because I’m still young.

“Now, as a wing-back, I feel good because it is a role in which I can express myself. I think I would feel better as a full-back than a half-winger.”

In the summer, Udogie was unveiled by Spurs after putting pen to paper on a five-year contract that will see him stay at Tottenham until the summer of 2027, in a deal that cost around £15m, with a potential extra £3m in add-ons.

Udogie began his career at Hellas Verona, coming through the youth ranks at the club and breaking into the first team. He made his debut in November 2020 and then moved on loan to Udinese in 2021.

The Serie A side made Udogie’s temporary deal permanent in 2022 and he became a regular in the team at the Dacia Arena, helping the team finish in 12th place in the table last season.

Related Articles