web analytics
Antwerp’s Mark Van Bommel pleased with teen goal-getter Ilenikhena; impressed with ‘fantastic dribbler’ Ejuke

Antwerp’s Mark Van Bommel pleased with teen goal-getter Ilenikhena; impressed with ‘fantastic dribbler’ Ejuke

The two Nigerian players have been outstanding for the reigning Jupiler Pro League champions in recent weeks

Royale Antwerp manager Mark Van Bommel has revealed his satisfaction with the contributions of youngster George Ilenikhena and Super Eagles winger Chidera Ejuke, Soccernet.ng reports.

Born in Lagos and raised in France, Ilenikhena joined Antwerp from Amiens last summer for a reported six million euros.

The huge transfer fee made Ilenikhena, who was 16 years old at the time, Antwerp’s most expensive signing in history, heaping added pressure on the fragile shoulders of the youngster.

However, Ilenikhena responded brilliantly on the pitch, scoring 13 goals in 38 games for Antwerp, including the winner in a thrilling 3-2 win over Barcelona – the club’s first-ever victory in the Champions League.

Van Bommel is delighted to see Ilenikhena doing well despite the huge fee involved in his transfer and has backed the teenager to continue to improve.

“He came to us with a large transfer fee around his neck (6 million euros, ed.),” Mark Van Bommel said, as per VoetbalKrant.

“Moreover, he still had to get used to our way of playing football. It’s getting better and can only get better.”

Ilenikhena is not the only Nigerian-born star doing well at Antwerp, with Chidera Ejuke, Victor Udoh, and Alhassan Yusuf contributing to the club’s positive results in 2024.

Ejuke, in particular, seems to be improving every week, with the former Heerenveen winger starting each of Antwerp’s eight league games in 2024.

The Nigeria international contributed an impressive four goals (one goal, three assists) during that run.

More than the goals, Ejuke was always an exciting dribbler. The 26-year-old has not stopped dazzling defenders with his stunning footwork.

Opta data shows that Ejuke has completed more dribbles this season than any other Antwerp player over a single Jupiler Pro League campaign since the club’s return to the top flight in 2017-18.

50 – Chidera Ejuke completed 50 dribbles this @ProLeagueBE campaign, more than any other @official_rafc player over a single Jupiler Pro League season since the club’s return to the top-flight in 2017-18. Artistry. pic.twitter.com/DDfoTVbI91

— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) March 3, 2024

Van Bommel is even more delighted to see Ejuke add more defensive work to his excellent dribbling.

“Sometimes I also think ‘wow’ when I see the boy’s dribbling,” Van Bommel admitted.

“He came to us as a fantastic dribbler, but the most important thing he learned with us is how to get back to defending.

“He can have fun and make moves on the ball, but then he also has to help the team defensively. He has become more complete.

“You have artists on the ball who let it run defensively; he no longer does that.”

A Nigeria international with eight caps, Ejuke was not in the Super Eagles squad that claimed a runner-up medal at the recently concluded Africa Cup of Nations in Cote d’Ivoire.

Imhons Erons

Read More

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *