Super Eagles manager Gernot Rohr recently released a list of 24 players for the final two Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against the Benin Republic and Lesotho.
The 67-year-old called up familiar names like Alex Iwobi, William Troost-Ekong, Leon Balogun, Joe Aribo and Maduka Okoye.
There were also debut call-ups for Almeria’s Umar Sadiq and Enyimba’s John Noble. Aside from the 24 players invited for the games, Rohr also put seven players on standby.
Paul Onuachu, Nigeria’s top scorer in Europe, is surprisingly on the stand-by list, while Henry Onyekuru and Terem Moffi are also among the seven players.
However, one name that caught the eye is Reading’s Michael Olise, and Soccernet provides a lowdown on the exciting youngster.
— The NFF 🇳🇬 (@thenff) March 9, 2021
Olise was born in London but to a French-Algerian mother and a Nigerian father, which makes him eligible to represent four nations.
Football runs in the Olise family as Michael’s younger brother is also a footballer and has been capped by England at the schoolboy level.
Michael started his football career with Chelsea’s youth team, which is also where Michael’s brother (Richard) currently plays.
However, Olise moved to Reading in 2015 and played with the club’s youth team. Due to his young age, Olise did not have a professional contract with the Royals until 2019, signing a three-year deal in July.
The enterprising youngster made his first-team debut for Reading in 2019, coming on as a substitute in a 3-0 home loss to Leeds United.
Since making his debut for the Royal’s first team, Olise’s profile has been on the rise. This season, he is playing a vital role in Reading’s promotion chase. The Royals currently sit fifth in the Skybet Championship table with 60 points, six behind Watford in second place.
Olise’s performances have proved important in where Reading sit on the table. The 19-year-old has scored five goals and registered nine assists in 33 games under Veljko Paunović this season.
In terms of style and his position on his pitch, Olise is versatile. He has played as an attacking midfielder and on the right-wing this season.
When asked about his preferred position, Olise revealed he is ready to play anywhere on the pitch as he is at the age where he needs to learn a lot about his game.
“My best position? Any position the manager tells me to play. At my age, I think it’s important to spend time on the pitch because it’s the best place to learn and develop your game,” Olise told Daily Mirror.
Are Nigeria Favourites To Acquire His Services?
As stated earlier, Olise is eligible to play for France, England, Nigeria and Algeria through is parents. France appear to hold the trump card as he has played for the country at the U-18 level.
He played for France U-18 Squad at the 2019 Toulon tournament. However, it appears he’s also considering representing Nigeria, hence the reason why he is on the standby list for the Super Eagles Afcon qualifiers.
The Three Lions of England are also in the discussion, given he was born in London and currently plays in the country.
Nonetheless, any country that eventually secures his services will be getting a real gem in their squad.