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Awoniyi ‘unplayable against Chelsea’ & most improved player from 2013 U17 World Cup team - Ex-coach

5:57 pm AEDT 6/1/23
Taiwo Awoniyi
Former Nigeria U17 coach Manu Garba has proclaimed the Forest striker as the most improved player from the 2013 U17 World Cup winning squad.
  • Awoniyi rated highly by former Nigeria U17 World Cup winning coach
  • Garba has claimed the Forest forward as most improved from the 2013 squad
  • The striker has played a starring role for his club in their last two matches

WHAT HAPPENED? Awoniyi was the match-winner for his club Nottingham Forest when he scored the lone goal as they beat Southampton 1-0 in the Premier League to get out of the relegation zone on Wednesday.

The striker, who made it four goals for his new side this season, put in an impressive performance for a second straight match, having been the Man of the Match in Forest’s 1-1 come-from-behind draw against Chelsea.

Garba feels he has seen enough from the forward to rate him as the best from the Class of 2013 which stormed to victory at the U17 World Cup, even better than Kelechi Iheanacho, who was the Player of the Tournament.

WHAT DID HE SAY? “Awoniyi has always been someone who thrives on hard work and discipline,” Garba told OwnGoalNigeria.

“Level-headed, cool and also dedicated to his game. I see him as the most improved player from my U17 of 2013.”

“That’s enough joy for me to see him progress this far. He was unplayable against Chelsea and decisive against Southampton. I’m proud of him.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Awoniyi has featured in 16 of his side’s 18 league matches, starting 10, while scoring five goals in all competitions, four in the league.

The Super Eagles forward, is averaging a goal per month with his first three coming in August, September and October while the last two were scored in December and January.

Awoniyi is Forest’s record signing after joining from Bundesliga side Union Berlin in the summer, for a reported £17 million, following a stellar campaign in Germany that saw him score 20 goals in 2021-22.

Nigeria beat Mexico 3-0 to win the 2013 U17 World Cup with Iheanacho the star player while their squad also had the likes of goalkeeper Francis Uzoho and striker Isaac Success.

WHAT’S NEXT? Awoniyi could play a peripheral role in Forest’s next two matches against Blackpool and Wolves in the FA and League Cups respectively but will be expected to lead the line when the Tricky Trees host Leicester City in their next Premier League match on January 14.