Former Nigeria forward Victor Ikpeba has urged young Nigerian players to avoid the lure of playing in Europe’s big sides in their formative years.
Ikpeba, who was voted African football of the year in 1997, started his journey in Europe from Belgium before moving to France and Germany.
In a chat with footballlive.ng the 46 year-old former football star said England and Spain aren’t exactly the best grounds to “express their talents”.
“I really don’t like to see our young lads going to the English premier league, the Serie A, and also the La Liga, I want them to start from the smaller traditional leagues in Europe like the Portuguese, the French and the Dutch leagues.
“These places mentioned, can give the players a platform to express themselves unlike what we see in England.
“But the English team now have changed, they give their own players the platform to but not often on first teams.
“For an African player, if you really want to progress you have to learn the European style of football and these other smaller leagues gives you the platform to develop in football.
“For instance, Wilfred Ndidi is doing well now in the EPL, why? It’s because he started his career in Europe from the Belgian league and now he’s doing well in the EPL with Leicester city now.
“May be, Real Madrid or one other big club side might be on the radar to sign him,” Ikpeba concluded.