Bayer Leverkusen’s newest signing, Victor Boniface, made a subdued debut in a friendly match, but the young forward has already won the support and admiration of club boss Xabi Alonso, who believes he will become a formidable challenge for defenders in the upcoming Bundesliga season, Soccernet.ng reports.
Standing tall at 1.89 meters and weighing 85 kilograms, Boniface boasts the physical attributes of a classic striker.
Despite joining Bayer 04 from Union Saint-Gilloise for a hefty 16 million euros, the 22-year-old Nigerian showcased more than just his striking ability during his debut in Bayer’s 0-1 loss to Real Sociedad.
He impressed with his involvement in the combination play, retaining possession effectively, and making an impact outside the penalty area.
Reflecting on Boniface’s performance, Xabi Alonso expressed his confidence in the young forward, stating to Kicker, “We saw Victor’s influence. It’ll be good for us to have him. Victor can take on central defenders. He’s a big problem for opponents. Physically, technically, he runs deep. We’ve seen good things from him.”
The 41-year-old coach also commended Boniface’s team-oriented mentality, adding, “He has a good mentality. He doesn’t want to play for himself; he wants to play for the team.”
Despite the positive evaluation, there were moments of potential improvement. In the match against Real Sociedad, Boniface missed a good chance in the penalty area following a pass from Granit Xhaka.
Additionally, he failed to capitalise on an outstanding pass from central defender Edmond Tapsoba, sending the ball well over the goal from approximately 20 meters.
Still, captain Lukas Hradecky joined in praising Boniface’s impact on the team, saying, “Victor gets every ball up front and has a shot like a horse.” Hradecky’s perspective is based on his experience facing the forward in training.
Boniface himself displayed self-criticism after his debut, acknowledging the need to improve his finishing. He remarked, “It’s true: I try to shoot with a lot of power. Hopefully, I’ll hit the ball better next time.”
Nonetheless, he remains focused on the team’s objectives, stating, “I feel really good, but we lost. We have to focus on the next test in order to improve before the start of the season.”
Despite being with the team for just eight days, Boniface already feels at home with his new teammates. He stated, “We’ve been training together for a week now, but the way we communicated on the pitch, it seems to me that I’ve been here for a very long time.”
Amidst the hype surrounding his arrival, Boniface remains grounded and team-oriented, saying, “It’s not about me; it’s about the team. If we win, I’m happy.”
As the Bundesliga season approaches, all eyes will be on Victor Boniface to see if he can live up to the expectations set by Xabi Alonso.
With Leverkusen counting on him as a significant attacking force, the young Nigerian talent aims to prove his worth and make a lasting impact on the pitch.