Chelsea youngster Kenneth Omeruo may well be one to watch when he goes to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup with Nigeria in the summer and will hopefully star at Stamford Bridge in the future.
The 20-year-old was signed from Standard Liege in 2012 and spent last season on loan at Eredivisie club ADO Den Haag, but it was during the 2013 African Cup of Nations that Omeruo started to attract attention and impress his parent club.
After making his senior international debut on January 9th in a goalless draw against Cape Verde the defender went on to play in all of Nigeria’s African Cup of Nations matches and went on to win the competition.
Omeruo has been tipped to shine in Brazil and has spoken about how much he’s looking forward to the tournament.
“I’ve been dreaming of playing in the World Cup.
“Playing in the Confederations Cup gave us the desire that we had to be in the World Cup. I’m really looking forward to the draw. If we get England, we will have to prepare our minds right.”
He also spoke about how much he is enjoying the atmosphere and spending time with the established senior squad members.
“At Chelsea, we are really focused on the club but sometimes Jose makes fun. In a training session last week, I made a wrong pass. ‘If you do that in the World Cup, Nigeria is out!’ Jose said. We were laughing. It’s quite quiet now about the World Cup between the players but after the draw, it will get noisy.
“I talked to Luiz about the World Cup. He speaks good English and he’s a really nice guy. Before the last game (the win over Ethiopia), Luiz and the other Brazilians were making fun of us: ‘Are you are going to qualify?!’ It’s nice. When I came back, Luiz said: ‘Well done, welcome to Brazil.’ They all said nice things.
“It was great when we qualified. Everyone was so happy. It was like when we won the Nations Cup, it was crazy. Everyone was on the street. We couldn’t fail the fans. We had to qualify for them. When I was injured (a shoulder injury picked up against Spain during the Confederations Cup) I got messages and tweets from fans saying how much they missed me. The coach Stephen Keshi called me to find out how I was doing, to let me know I was still part of the team. I was eager to come back and play.”
I was really impressed with what I saw from Omeruo whilst playing for Nigeria and training with the lads at Chelsea should prove to be a great benefit to his development as a player as well as helping him settle in a highly focussed and pressurised environment at Stamford Bridge, where there is an expectation to succeed.
Hopefully the defender will get a chance or two to play for the Blues this term but may have to go out on loan in order to find regular football. Only time will tell just how highly Mourinho and the club’s development staff rate Omeruo.