Victor Osimhen has had a successful career at the age of 22, which is not the same for many other young players.
But he has had to overcome a couple of challenges to reach his current level. Osimhen has not earned his success on a platter of gold but through hard work while overcoming difficulties along the way.
The 22-year-old knew he wanted to be a footballer from an early age, but he had to clean gutters and sell pure water on the streets of Lagos to achieve his dream.
U17 success, but the challenges keep coming
Even when he got the chance to play for Nigeria’s U17, he had to work twice as others during trials before he got selected.
Osimhen was destined for greatness the moment the Golden Eaglets won the U17 World Cup in 2015. The youngster had won the golden boot and the silver ball.
Still, he had to break through injury challenges and malaria, which threatened to end his career before it even began, following his move to Wolfsburg.
These challenges are a testament to Osimhen’s perseverance and ‘his never give up attitude.’ It is what also fuels his performance on the pitch.
His perseverance pays off eventually
It is why Lille took a chance on him after just one successful season in the Belgian top-flight. This is also why Napoli made him their most expensive buy and Africa’s most expensive player when they signed him from Lille last year.
While his move to Lille is a good one, his switch to Napoli and the amount of money paid to sign him all but confirmed the start of a great career.
A lot was expected when he arrived at Naples as he was Napoli’s record transfer and had scored 18 goals in all competitions in his sole season for Lille.
Osimhen had a fairly decent start to life in Naples, with two goals in his first seven games. However, just as he was appeared to get into his rhythm, he suffered a shoulder injury on international duty, which ruled him out for three months.
He encountered more woes after recovering from the injury as he tested positive for coronavirus, which ruled him out for an additional two weeks.
Osimhen made his return in January and scored eight league goals to finish with ten in 24 league games.
Napoli fans expected more, but his form in the second half of his first season provided encouragement going into his second year.
Although Osimhen got off the new season to a disappointing start after he was sent off 23 minutes into the games against Venezia, he has been able to turn it around and emerge as Napoli’s best player.
Another injury setback
However, just as he was entering into his full element, the Nigerian suffered another injury setback as he was ruled out of action for three months after breaking his left cheekbone and orbit following a collision with Milan Skriniar in Napoli’s 3-2 loss to Inter Milan at the San Siro.
The road to recovery starts but he may need to adapt his style
The Super Eagles striker has already gone through a successful surgery, but it was complicated, according to the surgeon that carried out the surgery.
The surgeon claimed that Osimhen’s eye came out of its socket, and he also suffered multiple fractures, which needed many screws.
“Osimhen injury was not a simple cheekbone fracture but also affected several bones of the face, Tartaro told 1 Station Radio as per GIFN.
“It was not a shock trauma, but compression: the kinetic force generated by the crushing of Osimhen’s face against Skriniar’s created devastating damage.”
‘The eye came out of its socket. It is not simple at all, in fact, it is very delicate due to the crushing of the socket, due to the curving of the malar bone [which is] practically destroyed, he added as per Corriere dello Sport.
Osimhen can not dwell on his latest setback. His focus will now be on his recovery and getting back to the level he was before the injury.
And having shown his mental strength in similar circumstances, there’s no doubt he will overcome this latest setback and come back strongly.
However, while there’s no doubt in Osimhen’s ability to come back stronger, the Nigerian may need to change his style when he returns.
Osimhen has always been the aggressive kind of striker, which is one of the attributes that make him special. He presses hard, uses his speed to a devastating effect and does not back out of challenges.
Although these qualities have taken him to this level, Osimhen needs to be smart with them. He does not need to go into every challenge, and even if he does, he should always learn to protect himself first.
Injuries are part of football, but when it happens constantly, it affects a player’s rhythm. It is not just about the present for Osimhen, but also the future.
The former Lille star is still young, but to enjoy a sustainable career into his 30s, he needs to learn how to protect his body.
In fairness to Osimhen, he has been unlucky with the two major injuries he has suffered since he arrived at Napoli, but it could have been avoided.
He must learn how to pick his battles while also maintaining his unique qualities. The latest injury is not an ideal situation for him, considering he was bought for big money.
His quality is clear to see anytime he plays, but Napoli fans want more than that from their record buy. They want consistency, but they are yet to see that from the young Nigerian, no thanks to injuries.
He still has three years left on his contract, which is enough time to justify his transfer fee. Osimhen is already on his road to recovery, and there is no doubt that he will come back stronger.
But he may need to adapt his style.