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)
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 05/09/2018 at 17:13:32
2 Posted 05/09/2018 at 18:01:16
3 Posted 05/09/2018 at 18:10:57
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.
4 Posted 05/09/2018 at 18:26:55
5 Posted 05/09/2018 at 18:34:50
6 Posted 05/09/2018 at 20:13:00
7 Posted 05/09/2018 at 20:27:07
8 Posted 05/09/2018 at 21:51:53
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?
9 Posted 05/09/2018 at 22:15:01
11 Posted 05/09/2018 at 23:05:10
12 Posted 06/09/2018 at 03:34:37
13 Posted 06/09/2018 at 04:29:04
14 Posted 06/09/2018 at 07:31:23
15 Posted 06/09/2018 at 09:22:27
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 .
16 Posted 06/09/2018 at 09:31:03
17 Posted 06/09/2018 at 09:37:30
18 Posted 06/09/2018 at 09:44:32
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.
19 Posted 06/09/2018 at 10:32:49
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.
20 Posted 06/09/2018 at 11:53:56
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.
21 Posted 06/09/2018 at 12:15:16
Maybe one day?
22 Posted 06/09/2018 at 13:18:00
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?
23 Posted 06/09/2018 at 13:42:48
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.
24 Posted 06/09/2018 at 19:36:43
25 Posted 06/09/2018 at 00:01:13
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.
26 Posted 07/09/2018 at 00:23:30
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.
27 Posted 07/09/2018 at 14:01:49
28 Posted 07/09/2018 at 01:10:43
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:
29 Posted 10/09/2018 at 12:24:52
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.