Everyone will soon see how good Nwakali is, says Reds boss McInnes

Chidiebere Nwakali.
Chidiebere Nwakali.

Boss Derek McInnes today backed loan signing Chidiebere Nwakali to be a smash hit with the Red Army.

The Nigerian midfielder has joined from Premier League leaders Manchester City until the end of the season.

Nwakali’s loan spell has been disrupted so far as he had to wait for a work permit and was then hit by illness.

The 21-year-old made a 9,200-mile dash to Abuja, Nigeria, over just three days to get a visa.

That opened up the way for a debut off the bench in the 3-1 win over Kilmarnock, only for him to miss the next game through illness.

McInnes is convinced the Under-17 World Cup-winning midfielder is now ready to go and will show his class.

Nwakali is in contention to face Dundee United in the Scottish Cup fifth round tie at Pittodrie on Sunday.

He said: “We are going to love Chidiebere. He is a player who is full of enthusiasm, is confident, is bright as a button and wants to show everyone how good a player he is.

“It is good to have his ability and also that hunger and enthusiasm from Chidiebere.

“Everyone is really going to enjoy watching him.

“In the time he has been on the pitch already you can see he has good feet, a nice touch of the ball and gets in about people.

“He has real energy but can also work the ball well as you would expect from someone from Manchester City.”

Such was Nwakali’s desire to make his debut for Aberdeen he embarked on that long trip to Abuja to process his visa.

He jetted out on the Thursday and touched down at Aberdeen airport at 10am – yet made his debut off the bench just hours later in the 3-1 defeat of Killie.

However, he was ruled out of the 4-2 win up at Ross County having been hit with a sickness bug, and did not travel with the squad to Dingwall.

He returned to fitness for the 3-0 defeat of Hamilton and came on as a substitute in the second half.

“Chidiebere is someone who Manchester City have a high regard for,” said McInnes.

“Having conversations with Manchester City they feel he is a player who can develop through his loans.

“Obviously Manchester City are in such a good place as a club at the minute that it is really difficult for any player to break into their team.

“It is all about the development of the player.

“He has mixed really well and has became a popular boy right away.

“What we have seen from Chidiebere so far is what we saw when we scouted him and looked at him.

“And everyone else will see that before too long.”

Nwakali is one of two loan signings secured by the Dons during the winter transfer window – both World Cup winners.

Newcastle United keeper Freddie Woodman joined until the end of the season on transfer deadline day.

Woodman, who started the win over Hamilton, won the U20 World Cup with England last summer and saved a penalty in the 1-0 final win over Venezuela.

Nwakali aims to use the second half of the season at Pittodrie to push himself into the Nigerian squad for the World Cup in Russia.

He has yet to be capped but was an unused substitute for the Super Eagles in a 3-0 World Cup qualifying loss to Algeria.

Nwakali was also on the bench in a 4-2 friendly win over Argentina in November.

McInnes said: “He has come here with his own objective to get into the Nigerian world cup squad.

“But he has got to get himself into the team and playing.

“That was part of his motivation to perform at a level and keep himself involved in that.

“So he will have that motivation to make sure he is in good form for the rest of the season.”