Saturday Aug 08, 2020. 15:00
Liverpool forward Taiwo Awoniyi says he is hoping that he has a chance to represent the senior Nigerian national team sooner rather than later.
The 22-year-old has seen youth level teammates such as Kelechi Iheanacho, Francis Uzoho and Isaac Success have opportunities to prove themselves for the Super Eagles, and he is hopeful that his turn is just around the corner.
“I’m happy for Iheanacho and Uzoho because they are deserving of the opportunity,” Awoniyi told BBC Sport.
“Personally, I feel like I deserve a chance. I recall when I was playing well and scoring goals in Belgium. Nigeria had a friendly game and I thought I had done enough to get a look in that would hopefully enhance my quest for a UK work permit, but I was overlooked.
“You begin to understand that it’s not something you can control or have power over. You just need to enjoy what you do and keep on working hard.”
Awoniyi, who has been on Liverpool’s books since 2015, has featured in loan spells for FSV Frankfurt, NEC, Royal Excel Mouscron, Gent and most recently Mainz.
Playing for Nigeria would have the added benefit of improving his chances of earning a work permit, which would allow him to play in the Premier League.
However, the 2019-20 season was a difficult one for the forward, who scored just once in 12 Bundesliga appearances.
Awoniyi has also spoken highly of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: “[He is] a man everyone is happy to be around. When I was going to Mainz last year he wished me luck because he is highly revered over there.
“And during my first year of professional football in 2015, many of my teammates talked about him at FSV Frankfurt and meeting him again shows how much he’s loved by people. His personality illustrates the success in Mainz, Dortmund.”