Wycombe Wanderers got dumped out of the EFL Cup at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday evening, but it was a proud moment for their English-born forward of Nigerian descent
Wycombe Wanderers veteran Adebayo Akinfenwa has revealed he is humbled to be considered a legendary striker by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.
Guardiola possibly knew little of Akinfenwa until the latest round of the EFL Cup pitted English Wycombe against City, the reigning Premier League champions.
But the Spanish tactician would have been brought up to speed of the 39-year-old striker before kick-off on Tuesday night.
One of the veterans of the lower leagues, Akinfenwa, has represented the colours of more than eight English clubs, winning the Player of the Season awards at Torquay United, Northampton Town, AFC Wimbledon, and twice with Wycombe.
Still, Guardiola started with a back four of youngsters Conrad Egan-Riley, Finley Burns, Luke Mbete-Tabu, and Josh Wilson-Esbrand, and watched as Akinfenwa tested them with his physicality.
The Nigerian descent saw a header miss target and delivered a lively attacking showing as Wycombe opened the scoring through Brandon Hanlan before City smashed six goals past the visitors.
After the encounter, Guardiola revealed he rated Akinfenwa when praising his young defenders for standing up to the ageless striker.
“They faced a legend of English football; it was an absolute pleasure to meet him,” Guardiola said of Akinfenwa, as per Sky Sports.
“It’s not easy to do it but they (defenders) did very well. We are going to review the game and show them how to solve the problems. But there was not one bad performance.”
Akinfenwa has taken to his social media account to admit he felt humbled to earn the praise of the former Barcelona coach.
“I don’t know about the legend of the game but I will most defo (definitely, ed.) take the compliment from one of the greatest managers in the game.”
Akinfenwa also wrote: “A loss is a loss so I won’t concentrate on the final result but the entire experience. my fellow players & our fans gave everything tonight…… you away fans were amazing, straight beast mode.”
Akinfenwa, a Watford academy product, made his professional debut in 2001 and played for at least 15 different clubs in his football career.
The ageless forward has been playing for Wycombe, a League One club, since he left another third-tier club, AFC Wimbledon, on July 10, 2016.
Akinfenwa, who will turn 40-year-old on May 10, 2022, will retire from professional football on July 1, 2022.