With the departure of Odion Ighalo from Manchester United, no Nigerian international, past or present, only Victor Osimhen currently plays for a traditional big club in Europe
Franco-German manager Gernot Rohr is unimpressed that no Super Eagles star plies their trade for Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, and Chelsea.
The 67-year-old tactician appreciates the two Nigerian internationals who feature for high-flying Leicester City but laments the abundance of top Nigerian stars starring for clubs battling against relegation.
Third-placed Leicester City boast one of the league’s best defensive midfielder in Nigeria’s Wilfred Ndidi and deploy compatriot Kelechi Iheanacho as an alternative to English striker Jamie Vardy.
Super Eagles playmaker Alex Iwobi has become a regular for Everton, with the former Arsenal winger helping the Toffees to seventh on the EPL table after 21 matches.
The other three Super Eagles stars in the Premier League have not been so lucky, though. Fullback Ola Aina and forward Josh Maja – on loan from Bordeaux – are struggling to pull 18th-placed Fulham – with two wins in 22 games – out of the relegation waters.
While defender Semi Ajayi, who has scored two league goals this term, has not prevented West Brom from slipping to 19th on the 20-team table with just 12 points from 23 matches.
It is not an ideal situation for Rohr, who insists that more work has to be done to improve a lot of Nigerian stars at the club level.
“I hope that we can find better players, but we have already good players. It’s true that we don’t have players in Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea,” Rohr told Super Eagles TV.
“Our players are playing in Fulham, West Brom – they are struggling to stay in the Premier League.
“We have fortunately two players in Leicester City and in other big clubs, not so much for the moment.
“So we must be humble, they must work, they must come in better clubs, and they must prove the quality in the club games.”
Nigeria manager Rohr is back in the country ahead of two Afcon-qualifying games against the Benin Republic and Lesotho.
Regular stars such as captain Ahmed Musa, William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun, Semi Ajayi, and Ola Aina are expected to top the 23-man list for the two clashes.
Rohr has also hinted that he may hand first time invitations to any of Lorient’s Terem Moffi, Union Berlin’s Taiwo Awoniyi, and Almeria’s Sadiq Umar.