Deportivo La Coruna of Spain B-team goalkeeper, Francis Odinaka Uzoho has received yet another feather to his cap, as the Super Eagles’ first choice to this year’s World Cup has been named among the best players aged under-23 at the global soccer showpiece in Russia.
Though Uzoho did not pull off any remarkable save in three matches at Russia 2018, and could not save Nigeria from crashing out in the group stage, the 19-year-old net minder has been rated among the best 11 youth players of the Mundial.
While many Nigerians are also critical of Uzoho’s impact with the Eagles, a cross-section of independent pundits reckon the keeper showed promising performances against Croatia, Iceland and Argentina to deserve a place in the under-23 best starting 11 at Russia 2018.
This is according to respected British newspaper, The Guardian, whose experts have outlined a team of eleven players and substitutes they consider as the best kids of Russia 2018.
Uzoho who plays for La Coruna’s third team, Deportivo Fabril in the Spanish third-tier division, is in the first eleven, while his Eagles teammate, Stoke City of England midfielder, Oghenekaro Etebo is in the substitutes’ list.
The Guardian wrote about Uzoho: “As one of only two goalkeepers under the age of 23 to have featured, the other being Tunisia’s Mouez Hassen, the teenager makes the cut almost by default but will still be relatively satisfied with his first major tournament despite Nigeria’s group-stage exit.
“Uzoho was largely helpless to prevent any of the four goals he conceded in the defeats by Croatia and Argentina and will surely improve with age.
“The next step for him is to gain first-team experience at Deportivo La Coruña, having spent the majority of last season in the reserves.”