Henry Onyekuru set to start for Super Eagles

Wednesday, 5 September, 2018 28comments  |  Jump to last

Henry Onyekuru is set to return to the international stage for Nigeria this weekend, which may help him gain an elusive UK work permit needed to play for Everton. Although they secured his registration for £6.8M in June 2017, it will be at least 2 years before the Nigerian can play for the Blues.

In 2015, the FA changed the work permit criteria making it more difficult for players from outside the European Economic Area to play for Premier League clubs unless they were “internationally established at the highest level”.

Henry's progress was hampered last season by a bad knee injury back in December and a feeling of resentment toward his loan club Anderlecht when he was fit enough to play again because he felt they did not give him enough playing chances to stake a claim for consideration by the Nigeria team selectors for the World Cup in Russia.

He was supposed to stay with Anderlecht for two seasons but refused to play for them again, and Everton agreed a new loan deal for him with Galatasaray for the full 2018-19 season. His form has been good with two goals in his last two games, his effort in the 6-0 demolition of Alanyaspor last Monday followed on from his winner over Goztepe.

The specific work permit requirements depend on the country of origin and their standing in the Fifa rankings. To qualify for a UK work permit, Onyekuru needs to appear in 75% of Nigeria's competitive fixtures over the last two years, given their FIFA World ranking of 47. Onyekuru has only ever made two appearances for Nigeria, which falls way short of the amount required.

However, his chances of figuring as a regular for the Nigeria team have significantly increased going forward, because Victor Moses announced his retirement from the Super Eagles and International football after their poor World Cup campaign.

Henry is expected to get a chance to prove his worth when Nigeria take on The Seychelles in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying this weekend, but could have competition for his place in the team from Samuel Kalu. The game kicks off at 1:30 pm BST on Saturday.


Reader Comments (28)

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Liam Reilly
1 Posted 05/09/2018 at 17:13:32
Onyekuru looks quality, hopefully he'll be a regular for the Eagles and be at Goodison next season.
Jack Convery
2 Posted 05/09/2018 at 18:01:16
How does all this stand when Brexit happens? – We the people demand to know!!!
Steve Ferns
3 Posted 05/09/2018 at 18:10:57
Jack, he's non-EU so it won't make a difference.

However, the Premier League have met with the government as a major industry and have tabled proposals to revolutionise the system of work permits for footballers.

No idea what it'd be, but I would bet on being able to sign anyone we want (without a work permit) but having a cap on number of non-UK players. I would think we'd be allowed more EU players than non-EU players. Such as we can have 8 non-UK players but a maximum of 3 non-EU. Something like that anyway.

Eddie Dunn
4 Posted 05/09/2018 at 18:26:55
Forgive my ignorance, but if he was allowed to play for Anderlecht, in an EU country, then why the differing rules regarding the Premier League?
Steve Ferns
5 Posted 05/09/2018 at 18:34:50
They have the same rules for players from EU countries. The rules affect players from outside the EU, such as Nigerians. Then it’s up to EU countries to set their own rules. So Belgium and UK have different rules.
Frank Wade
6 Posted 05/09/2018 at 20:13:00
Should we now expect a ToffeeWeb outcry against this chap's involvement in international football or is that only for the Irish lads?
Will Mabon
7 Posted 05/09/2018 at 20:27:07
Frank, I think that outcry is reserved for international teams with management willing to flagrantly risk players' well-being.
Frank Wade
8 Posted 05/09/2018 at 21:51:53
Brian, what matches did McCarthy play for Ireland against the club's wishes? He wouldn't be picked for Ireland if he was injured.

Thanks to Giggs, the rules regarding withdrawal of players from International games were overhauled and National teams have the right to assess the fitness of players. I wonder, will Giggs turn up tomorrow night for Wales?

Tom Bowers
9 Posted 05/09/2018 at 22:15:01
I have to agree that Everton are a bit slow in keeping players back from meaningless friendlies when not 100%. Other clubs like Liverpool and Man City don't hesitate.
Eddie Dunn
11 Posted 05/09/2018 at 23:05:10
Thanks Steve,
Victor Yu
12 Posted 06/09/2018 at 03:34:37
I have a feeling that, if he signed for Arsenal or Man Utd, he would have been granted a work permit already.
David Ellis
13 Posted 06/09/2018 at 04:29:04
This is good news. I'm not sure if Henry will make it in the Premier League but he's got to get over here first before we can find out. I can imagine him coming in as Lookman heads to the continent in the summer.
Bobby Mallon
14 Posted 06/09/2018 at 07:31:23
He won't play a single game for us; he will be sold for a profit next season or loaned out again. This is not because he isn't any good it's because, with the Turkish giants, he will love the Champions League — something we can't give him
Paul Knox
15 Posted 06/09/2018 at 09:22:27
Looks like a lot of surmising over the lad's position, but, it depends on, firstly, Silva and Brands rating of him and after Brexit changes in work permit laws for non-British players if it even changes.

If he doesn't fit in with our new management's plans, he of course will be sold. So he's still in limbo, I believe; he does not have loan-to-buy deal at present which, to me, confirms the fact that he may be good enough .

Simon Smith
16 Posted 06/09/2018 at 09:31:03
If he wasn't on loan and was just not playing, would he be allowed to live and get paid in this country??
Eric Myles
17 Posted 06/09/2018 at 09:37:30
He wouldn't be able to work without a work permit, Simon.
Mike Allison
18 Posted 06/09/2018 at 09:44:32
Work permit problems do seem very, very rare these days. Simon, I believe he would need a work permit whatever job he did. If he was a nurse, teacher or anything we're short of, he'd get one easily. As a labourer or hairdresser or something then probably not, although he'd be so low-profile, he'd probably get away with working illegally.

As a footballer, we have to demonstrate that he is of a particular standard and international caps is usually the way this is done. The rules on this have become complicated and difficult to explain. I don't know the numbers, but the higher a country is ranked by FIFA, the fewer caps you need. The caps are actually a percentage over the last two years, rather than an overall number.

This is made even more complicated by an appeals process that can take each individual situation into account. I don't know how this works but, even if Henry didn't qualify under the rules, we may win an appeal if, for example, we point out that he missed out on several caps that he would have received due to injury.

Justin Doone
19 Posted 06/09/2018 at 10:32:49
What doesn't help Henry is the fact he hasn't played regularly for Nigeria at any level over the last 2 or 3 years. If he was a regular at U18 or U21 then got injured when called up by Nigeria we could argue his case but he's starting from scratch.

I just hope he gets some game time for Nigeria this season –starting or from the bench doesn't matter, it's still a cap.

Qualifying for a UK work permit will increase his value which can only be of benefit to us.

I'd like to see him live in the flesh to judge if he's any good or not myself. I'd love it if he became Everton first-choice striker but like a few before him something doesn't feel right and I don't think this will happen.

Post-Brexit, the only truth is no one knows what will happen for EU or non-EU individuals, footballers, managers, owners, or Bob down the road etc.

I'm naive and hope Brexit doesn't happen but, presuming it does, I would make use of the Commonwealth and along with a whole host of other things make it easier for those countries to get work permits. There's got to be more value than just a mini-Olympics every 4 years.

Paul Birmingham
20 Posted 06/09/2018 at 11:53:56
I hope that this lad gets a run when he's done his time on loan. At his age, he's already battle-hardened and has come back from serious injury on par as he was before the injury.

Let's hope next season he's knocking on the door, or in the 1st team squad.

The famous words but he looks like he's a footballer. Hopefully he will be for a EFC.

Matthew Williams
21 Posted 06/09/2018 at 12:15:16
I would rather see this lad play for us!

Maybe one day?

Robert Leigh
22 Posted 06/09/2018 at 13:18:00
This is the first time I can recall that Everton have been in possession of a first team player, but we can't play him!

And given how quickly his star is rising, we may never see him in the Royal Blue at all.

I hope he comes and produces for us, but equally if we end up selling him for £30+ mill having only bought him for £6.8m, surely it has to be seen as a success?

Peter Gorman
23 Posted 06/09/2018 at 13:42:48
Robert, I think we had that random Brazilian named Anderson Silva that played some games for Malaga and then Barnsley of all clubs before he made his solitary appearance for us in 2007 (or there abouts).

Quite how he was eligible for Barnsley but not Everton I couldn't being to explain – unless it was just because he wasn't good enough. Yeah, that is probably it.

Paul Kossoff
24 Posted 06/09/2018 at 19:36:43
Does this rule apply to other sports? Seems in some sports you only have to be good to be approached by another country to represent them regardless of where you were born.
Robert Leigh
25 Posted 06/09/2018 at 00:01:13
Peter (#23),

I remember him yes, but he wasn't what I would call first-team ready; whereas Henry is given he's playing for Nigeria and Galatasaray.

Not sure how to feel, as I said, but either way, we win, I guess.

James Flynn
26 Posted 07/09/2018 at 00:23:30
The main thing about this kid is that he is an exciting talent, at times electric.

Hopefully, the Club is working out how to get him to Goodison next season.

We have no choice but to wait. But I have to say, "I can't wait!!"

Delboy with a turbo-charger.

Derek Knox
27 Posted 07/09/2018 at 14:01:49
Good news, we will just have to hope he plays well for his home country; that way he will be selected for upcoming games as well, and satisfy the criteria for getting that seemingly elusive work permit.
James Flynn
28 Posted 07/09/2018 at 01:10:43
The link to his winning goal in Turkey was up in here before.

Here's another look at him setting up a chance and then poaching the goal himself. #21 chesting down the pass into the box is him:


Alan McGuffog
29 Posted 10/09/2018 at 12:24:52
Martin Murray. Come on down!

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