Former Super Eagles winger, Omatsone ‘Sone’ Aluko’s lower division club, Reading have highlighted the depth and quality of the Nigerian national team, and believe the presence of several English Premier League players in the squad could make a difference at the World Cup.
Though the English Championship side dedicated their statement to Aluko’s teammate, Jón Daði Böðvarsson, who has been included in Iceland’s final squad list to Russia 2018, Reading noted that the lad will be up against stiff opposition from the Eagles on June 22.
Nigeria will take on Iceland in their second Group D fixture in Volgograd on Friday June 22nd, beginning 1600 hours GMT, and Reading have hinted that it will be a tough game for Böðvarsson and his Iceland teammates.
Aside Aluko, The Royals also have Nigerian-born Portuguese international defender, Tiago Ilori in their ranks.
Following the decision by Iceland’s coach, Heimir Hallgrímsson to include Böðvarsson in his 23-man squad, Reading noted that he will face a Nigerian team with close ties to English Premier League clubs.
Victor Moses and Ola Aina are on the books of Chelsea, Alex Iwobi with Arsenal as well as Kelechi Iheanacho and Wilfred Onyinyen Ndidi for Leicester City.
Similarly, China-based pair Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi and top striker, Odion Jude Ighalo also previously wore the colours of Chelsea and Watford respectively, while Ahmed Musa is on loan back at CSKA Moscow from Leicester.
The statement by Reading noted: ”Nigeria are a side to be reckoned with at the tournament with a good previous record, having made it through to the knockout stages in three of their five appearances on the world stage.
”Their side is awash with current and former Premier League talent as well, in the shape of Leicester pair Ahmed Musa and Kelechi Iheanacho, former Watford striker Odion Ighalo and former Chelsea stalwart, John Obi Mikel.
”After qualifying for the tournament for the first time in 1994, Nigeria have been almost ever-present at the World Cup since, only missing out in 2006 due to an inferior head-to-head record against Angola.”