Genk scout reveals Ndidi did not make great first impression

Genk scout reveals Ndidi did not make great first impression
Ndidi (left) beside Austin 'Jay Jay' Okocha and the English Premier League trophy. Ndidi is now headed to England too

by Staff Reporter

Monday Jan 02, 2017. 16:25

Wilfred Ndidi cost Genk less than a 100,000 pounds and two years on, he will fetch them 18 million pounds but that was after the Belgian club’s top scout was not first a big fan of the Nigeria youngster.

READ ALSO: Ndidi yet to arrive England

Ndidi was at Genk in January 2014 on trials and he trained with the youth team managed by Domenico Olivieri, a former Genk captain who had won the Belgian title and a cup with them.

“My first impression of him? I didn’t have that feeling: ‘Wow, this is a super talented guy,’” Olivieri has said. “Not a player we had to sign immediately but one worth following. His jumping ability was phenomenal but in the passing exercises he was struggling a bit.

“After an exhibition game against Maastricht I changed my mind. That was the first time he gave me the impression he could become a top player. He thrived in ball-winning. His long legs were everywhere. Octopus-like. He was open-minded, too.

“He immediately integrated in the group, was open for advice and his work ethic was outstanding.”

Ndidi will later phone Olivieri to thank him for giving him a trial.

“A month after his trial I suddenly get a call from a number with an unknown foreign country code. It turned out to be Ndidi,” he told a newspaper.

“He wanted to thank me for the opportunity he had been given. ‘Great,’ I thought.

“At that time he did not know that we would give him a contract. It was the first time that a trial player called me to say thanks. But that’s his personality.”

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