Taiwo Awoniyi: From sewing his own football boots, through seven Liverpool loans to Nottingham Forest | Football News

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Taiwo Awoniyi has reached the Premier League by way of the scenic route.

Liverpool supporters can be reminded this weekend that it was a Nottingham Forest striker who scored the profitable objective in opposition to them to mark the primary televised Premier League recreation on Sky Sports activities, 30 years in the past.

Three a long time on from Teddy Sheringham’s trademark end, Awoniyi will hope to announce himself in entrance of the Sky cameras as West Ham go to the Metropolis Floor on Tremendous Sunday, after his six-year spell at Liverpool left him with a way of unfinished enterprise in England.

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With this weekend marking the thirtieth anniversary of the Premier League, we have a look again on the very first televised recreation within the competitors as Teddy Sheringham’s objective secured a 1-0 win over Liverpool

Again in 2015, he joined the Merseyside membership for a charge of round £400,000 after impressing on the U20 World Cup in New Zealand for Nigeria. Then, aged simply 17, he was instantly loaned out to German staff FSV Frankfurt – the primary of seven loans earlier than he made a transfer to Union Berlin everlasting solely final summer season.

The ahead has solely simply been granted a UK work allow, so his year-long mortgage strikes previous to becoming a member of Union had been out of necessity greater than design. Awoniyi could have puzzled whether or not his Premier League dream was over.


Sunday 14th August 1:00pm


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African soccer journalist Usher Komugisha tells Sky Sports activities: “So much has been achieved to guard homegrown gamers in England. Six years in the past, it wasn’t very simple for an African participant to acquire a UK work allow and that is nonetheless the case.

“There have been numerous conversations on the FA to guard the Premier League and particularly English gamers. We have seen within the final 4 years, in reality ever since England gained the U20 and U17 World Cups in 2017, numerous English gamers have gone on to make England a robust contender for the World Cup.

“To do this, that you must tighten up a few of the guidelines on international gamers allowed into the nation. Now, you must be enjoying for one of many high 75 nations within the FIFA world rankings, and that you must have performed at the least 50 per cent of video games for that nation over a set time frame.

Taiwo Awoniyi is ready to take to the Premier League
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Awoniyi didn’t play in six years at Liverpool

“This offers a restrict, and it was the case when Awoniyi first joined Liverpool. It was unlucky for him as every little thing was going rather well on the time.”

Forest’s resolution to make the 24-year-old striker their club-record signing earlier this summer season marked the most recent chapter in a whirlwind journey for the boy from Ilorin, town in western Nigeria.

Awoniyi, a religious Christian, would sew his personal boots as a baby and arrive to coaching on the Kwara Soccer Academy early with mending instruments. His resilience is a narrative re-told by many African gamers.

Awoniyi scored 20 goals in 43 games last season
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Awoniyi scored 20 targets in 43 video games final season

“Sadio Mane had the identical boots for years,” Komugisha reveals. “Generally, you’ll see his toes by means of his sneakers. He ran away from dwelling, borrowed some cash and went to town of Dakar to strive his luck at soccer regardless that his dad and mom needed him to go to high school.

“It was the identical for Odion Ighalo, who got here from one of many greatest slums in Nigeria – Ajegunle (a densely-populated suburb in Lagos). There, you will have individuals promoting sachets of water the place if they will elevate £1 throughout two days, they can feed their households.

“That is the kind of background that provides the likes of Awoniyi his combating spirit.”

There have been a number of sliding-door moments.

In July 2009, Jose Mourinho visited Kwara State as a visitor of the ex-Governor Bukola Saraki, who had simply created Kwara Soccer Academy.

skysports steve cooper nottingham forest 5785707

Taiwo is a participant who we actually consider in and we sit up for him occurring to fulfil his potential and change into a high Premier League striker with Nottingham Forest.

Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper

In 2010, he would star at a soccer match in London, profitable the MVP award in addition to the Golden Boot. It has felt a matter of when, and never if, he could be given his likelihood to shine on the next stage.

“Nigeria have achieved an unbelievable job at youth tournaments all through the years,” says Komugisha.

“They’re five-time winners of the U17 World Cup and in 2013 he was a part of the staff that gained within the UAE. He was in the identical staff as Kelechi Iheanacho, however he was truly enjoying second fiddle till Isaac Success bought injured.

Only five players scored more goals than Awoniyi’s 15 in the league
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Solely 5 gamers scored extra targets than Awoniyi’s 15 within the league final season

“This allowed him to get into the core of the staff and he helped them win the match. He was subsequently a part of the U20 staff in New Zealand two years later. They disenchanted as a staff however he was within the dialog then as a part of the brand new technology to take over from the senior group.”

Having struggled throughout mortgage spells at FSV Frankfurt, NEC Nijmegen, Mainz, Mouscron (twice) and Gent, Jurgen Klopp performed a job in convincing Awoniyi {that a} everlasting transfer from Liverpool to Union Berlin would play to his strengths.

Fifteen targets in 31 Bundesliga appearances final time period opened the door for an additional crack on the Premier League.

Awoniyi struggled in his first loan at FSV Frankfurt
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Awoniyi struggled in his first mortgage at FSV Frankfurt

Steve Cooper and Forest have signalled their intent this window as they give the impression of being to make their return to the Premier League following a 23-year absence not a brief one.

Awoniyi has put pen to paper on a five-year contract following his £17.5m transfer from the Bundesliga’s Union Berlin – and Forest have gone on to finish 12 new signings in complete. This quantity is ready to rise within the close to future.

Emmanuel Dennis, who has been linked with a transfer to the Premier League newcomers, got here from the identical Kwara Soccer Academy as Awoniyi so a reunion may properly be in retailer to additional support his interval of adaptation in new environment.

Not that Komugisha feels the participant will want a lot adjusting, nor really feel the strain of his club-record charge.

She continues: “Whenever you have a look at Nigerian footballers, certainly African footballers, they know easy methods to cope with unlucky circumstances.

Awoniyi playing at this year's AFCON against Egypt
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Awoniyi enjoying at this 12 months’s AFCON in opposition to Egypt

“That is to not make it sound like these from different locations on the planet do not, however to provide you a little bit of context, Nigeria is a rustic of 220 million individuals. By the point you make it to any nationwide staff, you have to be fairly good.

“You have to’ve gone by means of unbelievable sacrifices and circumstances to make it to the nationwide staff. Taiwo grew up on the streets of Ilorin attempting to verify he may make it to the large stage.

“Nigeria had huge gamers throughout completely different generations which have wowed the world. We have had the likes of Jay-Jay Okocha, Nwankwo Kanu, John Obi Mikel – these had been all inspirations to Taiwo.

Awoniyi impressed during the Under-20 World Cup
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Awoniyi impressed in the course of the U20 World Cup

“Every time they had been confronted with an enormous problem, all of them appeared for options in the identical approach Taiwo has. He acknowledged he could not play for Liverpool, however he checked out alternate options to maintain the dream alive.

“His objective was at all times in some unspecified time in the future to return again to the Premier League. You should use Mohamed Salah as the proper instance. He performed for Chelsea, issues did not actually work out for him, he went to Fiorentina after which Roma earlier than coming to Liverpool.

“Now, he’s actually ruling the Premier League.”

The striker shone at the Under-17 World Cup in 2013
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The striker shone on the U17 World Cup in 2013

Cooper opted to play a two-man ahead line final weekend within the 2-0 defeat to Newcastle with Brennan Johnson enjoying near Sam Surridge.

It was noticeable how remoted former Forest man Michail Antonio was throughout West Ham’s 2-0 reverse in opposition to Manchester Metropolis because the lone striker, so will probably be attention-grabbing to see if Cooper retains the identical form in a bid to outscore the opposition.

Awoniyi was launched from the bench after 63 minutes at St James’ Park, so what system most closely fits the striker?

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Dharmesh Sheth explains why Nottingham Forest wanted to make a flurry of signings on arrival within the Premier League.

“I really feel Taiwo may make Nottingham Forest one of many huge surprises of the Premier League season,” Komugisha ends. “I really feel his circumstances of the previous few years have ready him for this second.

“He works properly in a two-man assault however he also can modify to no matter he’s offered with. He’ll strive his greatest to suit into the membership’s philosophy but additionally it is determined by the opposition Forest are going through.

“There have been stories that Forest are about to signal Emmanuel Dennis, his compatriot, from Watford. If they’ve that duo up entrance, Forest followers needs to be very excited. It will be raining targets!”

What’s going to Awoniyi deliver to Forest?

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European soccer professional Andy Brassell believes Awoniyi can be ‘terrific’ for Forest

European soccer journalist Andy Brassell to Sky Sports activities Information:

“I feel it’s a assertion of intent. Awoniyi has been terrific for Union Berlin within the final couple of seasons and significantly final season.

“He is their high goalscorer of all time within the high flight. You have a look at his power and the number of targets he scores, and he was the person who made certain they certified for the Europa League on the finish of the season.

“He is somebody who can create his personal shot and choose up the items. What actually impressed me about him is his actually inventive strike companion did lots for him – Max Kruse. He moved on and went again to Wolfsburg in January, and Awoniyi took centre stage and is completely happy to actually take accountability for the assault.

“I feel he’ll be completely terrific for Nottingham Forest.”

Watch the Tremendous Sunday conflict between Nottingham Forest and West Ham stay on Sky Sports activities Premier League this weekend; kick-off 2pm

Comply with the summer season switch window with Sky Sports activities

Who can be on the transfer this summer season when the switch window opens on June 10 and closes at 11pm on September 1?

Sustain-to-date with all the most recent switch information and rumours in our devoted Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports activities’ digital platforms. You may as well meet up with the ins, outs and evaluation on Sky Sports activities Information.



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