Remember the Name
Noni Madueke is an 18-year-old English footballer born to Nigerian parents and the Nigerian Football Federation alongside coach Gernot Rohr is trying to convince him to switch allegiance. Noni was discovered by a Crystal Palace scout and Noni’s father tried to downplay its significance to manage the lad’s expectations. The career that is panning out looks like it will meet those expectations. From the Crystal Palace academy, he moved to the Tottenham academy, and he began to make a name for himself there. He has represented England at U16 up to U19 levels.
In 2018, following a massive exodus of young English talents from England in search of opportunities, Noni Madueke moved to PSV Eindhoven with opportunities for senior appearances on his mind. The English game is too rich to pay attention to kids trying to make a name for themselves. Imagine the scrawny little lad from Tyneside blowing a 100-million-pound match because he is trying to impress his coach rather than being calm. The English game is too intense and the kids are yet to reach these athletic levels so they go somewhere else to gain it.
Marcus Edwards and Noni Madueke left from the Tottenham academy. Marcus Edwards moved to Vitoria SC and he scored 7 goals and recorded 5 assists from 3 big chances created in the Portuguese Primeira Liga last season. Jadon Sancho, Jonathan Panzo, Jude Bellingham, Rabi Matondo, etc, have all left English clubs to search for playing time at the senior level.
The Playing Style
Noni is not salty about it, he is smart and he understands the game.The staff at Tottenham regard him highly and Mauricio Pochettino was monitoring his development. He decided to move to PSV Eindhoven in June 2018 due to the readiness of Dutch teams to offer senior appearances to their youth players. After conversations with his coach Ruud Van Nistelrooy, he has shifted from the number 10 position to the right-wing. They believe it will allow him more 1v1’s which is a strength of his. He prefers this to occupying the inside as a number 10 where everything is “tight”. The right-wing allows him more space to work with as he can go inside and outside. This allows Noni to show his most prized asset – his powerful running. Noni is also prolific at youth level and it has translated into his senior appearances.
He got a call to the senior squad after his 11 goals and 12 assists for PSV’s U19 group. 4 appearances towards the end of last season (1 start) was the reward. This season he has appeared for PSV 8 times, starting 2 games. He has 4 goals, 2 assists, and he has created 2 big chances. His most impressive performance was when he came off the bench to score 2 against ADO Den Haag in a 4-0 win. He is taking these substitute minutes well and they will help him especially as he is still young and can get games from the younger groups. Noni has made 3 appearances in the Europa League starting 1 game. He has 1 assist, and he has created 2 big chances in the competition.
If we are to compare him to an active footballer then we can say he is a left-footed Marcus Thuram. They are both strong runners with and without the ball even though they feature on opposite sides of the pitch. Both have upper body strength that they use to maintain balance and shield the ball. They can be predictable but the speed and power with which they execute their decisions make them hard to contain.
NFF VS England
The NFF is always struggling to convince one English youth to play for Nigeria and Noni looks like the subject of another tussle. Victor Moses, Ola Aina, and Alex Iwobi are some of the names the Nigerian Football Federation have had to claw from the English setup. The youngster has mentioned Jadon Sancho as his inspiration and an inspiration for an entire generation but Sancho may be the primary block between England and Noni. Daily Mail in a report has stated that the NFF wants to fast-track his senior-level appearances which might convince him to switch sides.
Noni Madueke is an interesting asset that the NFF should be looking at. He will give us a different profile from Chukwueze even though they play the same position. Cody Gakpo, Mohamed Ihattaren, and Mario Gotze are all PSV attackers but Noni continues to find time under Roger Schmidt. He sees the talent and the NFF sees it too. We should make our move now. When you hear him talk, the boy is thirsty for senior games, and we can offer him that.
Even though we have Samuel Chukwueze who is also a right-winger that loves to cut in, having Noni cannot be a bad option for the super eagles. Noni operates on the inside and Chukwueze starts from much wider positions. Noni is a talent that we can help develop with precious game time. Chukwueze’s progression is not helping either. Under Javier Calleja last season, Chuwkueze was in the starting line-up in one game and on the bench for the next one. Under Unai Emery, it is the same trend and there is no consistency in his game.
Last season in 37 appearances (20 starts) in La Liga, Chukwueze recorded 3 goals, 2 assists, and 8 big chances created. This is not a progression from the 5 goals, 2 assists and 2 big chances created that he recorded in his 2018/2019 debut season. This season, he has 1 goal, 1 assist and he has created 1 big chance.