Ndidi (left) beside Austin 'Jay Jay' Okocha and the English Premier League trophy. Ndidi is now headed to England too
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.”