Monday Dec 09, 2019. 14:00
Nigeria forward Samuel Chukwueze has spoken of some missed opportunities earlier in his career as he continues to shine for Spanish LaLiga side Villarreal.
Chukwueze was a star of the Nigeria side that competed at the 2015 FIFA Under-17 World Cup and looked set for a move to one of Europe’s top clubs.
But those deals failed to materialise and he was left to pick up the pieces of a failed dream and work harder to achieve his goals.
“I have had setbacks, when I had so many options to sign with Porto, Arsenal and [Red Bull] Salzburg, but it didn’t happen. Then I went back to my academy and started training all over again,” Chukwueze told the Nigeria Football Federation.
“It was difficult for me at that moment because my teammates had signed some contracts with their teams and I was back home training with my academy before Villarreal picked me up.
“It shows me that you need to keep your head down and keep working harder. If things are not working properly as you think, you need to keep you head down.
“I think I am in a perfect place because of the setback, assuming I went to the club that I was looking at, maybe I won’t be where I am today, so it taught me some lessons.”
Chukwueze, 20, joined Villarreal in 2017, but made his breakthrough in the first team last season and has been a star performer for them since, netting eight goals in 27 LaLiga stars, a good return for a wide player.