May 9, 2021

Simy Nwankwo: Crotone and Serie B top-scorer targets Super Eagles return

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The 28-year-old was last invited for national team assignment in September 2018 and hopes his form could earn him a recall

Crotone striker and Serie B top-scorer Simy Nwankwo has set his target on securing a return to the Nigeria national team.

The forward was in excellent form for the Pythagoreans in the 2019-20 season, helping the side to gain promotion to the Serie A.

The 28-year-old bagged 20 league goals in the campaign to emerge as the league’s top-scorer and his 21 strikes and three assists across all competitions saw him become the club’s highest goalscorer of the season. 

Nwankwo has five caps and one goal for the Super Eagles since he made his debut against the Democratic Republic of the Congo in May 2018.

The forward was part of Gernot Rohr’s side that was eliminated in the group stage of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, playing as a substitute against Croatia and Argentina.

The striker has, however, not featured for the West Africans since he made a bench role against Seychelles in September 2018 in Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Nwankwo feels Crotone’s relegation to Serie B reduced his chances of a regular call-up to the national team and now hopes for more opportunities with the side.

“When I went down, I knew the risks of losing that spot that I worked so hard to get to although I didn’t play more, which is perfectly understandable,” Nwankwo told ESPN.

“I met a team that was already structured with one of the best African strikers at the moment – Odion Ighalo. And it was normal, it was perfect for me to stay calm and learn and then watch how things are done. And then all of a sudden, I found myself out again, which is understandable.

“No grudges on anyone. I understand every situation because the national team of Nigeria is highly rated. So, if you want to be in the national team, you have to be in the big leagues. That I can understand.

“So now we are back up. I just have to focus, like always, on what I will do here. The only way I will get myself into the national team is about what I do here.

“This season, I’ve done well. That puts me in a good window to be looked into by the coaches and everybody that makes the decisions. I hope that in the future I will have my chance back again.”

Nwankwo joined Crotone from Gil Vicente in 2016 and has scored 44 league goals in 112 appearances since his arrival at the club.

The 28-year-old forward will hope to play a key role for the Pythagoreans in the 2020-21 Serie A campaign.