“He has everything to be a superstar” – Paolo Zanetti convinced Nigerian forward is on the path to greatness
The Italian coach has led the Winged Lions to two consecutive league victories, with the club’s Nigerian import playing a significant role in that recent success
Venezia manager Paolo Zanetti has confessed that he is pleased with the performances of Nigerian attacker David Chidozie Okereke, a player he rates highly.
Okereke has been one of the chief reasons the newly-promoted side is stationed six points above the relegation zone 13 game weeks into the 2021-2022 season.
The Club Brugge loanee is enjoying a new lease of life in the Italian Serie A after two tough years in the Belgian championship.
The 24-year-old Nigerian has contributed almost half of Venezia’s 12 league goals (four goals and one assist in 12 games), with his two latest efforts earning maximum points for the Winged Lion.
Okereke scored the winning goal in the 3-2 defeat of a Jose Mourinho-tutored AS Roma just before the last international break. And the former Nigerian youth international repeated the trick last weekend when he netted the only goal of the match as Venezia stunned their hosts Bologna.
But despite Okereke’s heroics, Venezia coach Zanetti singled out his central defenders for praise while knocking his attackers for not ‘behaving well’ during the post-match press conference.
The former Torino midfielder has, however, confessed that Okereke approached him to know why the gaffer does not appear pleased with the Nigerian’s efforts.
Zanetti has now cleared all doubts with his affirmation that Okereke has the qualities to be a nightmare for defenders in the Italian elite division.
“He (Okereke) doesn’t even know how strong he is,” Zanetti told Corriere del Veneto, as per CalcioStyle.
“A few days ago, he came to talk to me in the locker room and asked me if I was satisfied with him. He told me that he had caught my eye and that he thought I was not happy with how he was playing.
“I think he is not yet fully aware of the qualities he possesses. He is a player who has everything to become a superstar: he has strength, speed, and technique; if he attacks space, he becomes devastating.”
Okereke, who arrived in Venice from Club Brugge in August, is on loan until the end of the season.
But the Italians have the option of making his stay permanent for eight million euros, the same amount that secured his signing for Brugge from Spezia in 2019.
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