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Tosin Kehinde: Made in Manchester United, will Tosin become the next Nigerian Superstar



Tosin Kehinde aims to be the creative hub of the Super Eagles ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Made in Manchester United, Tosin Kehinde decided to switch his allegiance and represent the Super Eagles of Nigeria on the international scene.In an exclusive interview with Pulse Sports,  the youngster who was highly rated at the Manchester United academy is optimistic about being a core part of the Super Eagles team at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.Who is Tosin KehindeBorn on June 18, 1998, Tosin Kehinde was made in Manchester United where he learned to play football.The youngster may not have the imposing physique of Paul Pogba but learned to take care of the ball while developing at Carrington. Over the years Nigeria has churned out several top-class midfielders the likes of Jay Jay Okocha stamping his authority as the ideal number ‘10’ for the national team set up.In recent times that position and shirt number is worn by former Chelsea midfield maestro John Obi Mikel who is now the skipper of the national team.Tosin who is still 20-year-old aims to replicate the successes and achievements of these Nigerian legends with the Super Eagles over the coming years.Growing upAsked about how his love affair with football started, Tosin revealed that even when he was a toddler he was already enthusiastic about the game.He said, “I’m not sure actually but I do have pictures of me at around 5 years old with a football in my hand.“So maybe I’ve always been obsessed with the game. But yeah, by the age of 8, I’m pretty sure I was convinced I was going to be a footballer.” Tosin was not born in England but left the shores of the country at a tender age, he revealed that his mother has been a motivator who influenced his development as a professional footballer.He said, “I left Nigeria really young. All my friends are here. My whole life is in Manchester. I just thank my mum for sacrificing so much to basically put me in the position I’m in today; Can’t sing her praises enough.”Tosin and Manchester UnitedTosin was not always a Manchester United player, he explained that a trial session at the club’s famed training ground was the key to his move to Old Trafford. He said, “I joined during the 2011/2012 season. It’s a funny story actually; I was at a trial session at Carrington to support a good friend of mine.“I then managed to find myself on the pitch & the rest is history. It had to have been God.”Tosin and NigeriaIt was widely reported that Tosin chose to represent Nigeria after a meeting with representatives of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). However, Tosin has disclosed to Pulse Sports that the decision to wear the green and white was due to his affection for the country despite spending most of his life overseas in the United Kingdom.He said, “Even though I’ve grown up in the UK; At my core I’m Nigerian & I don’t think any amount of time anywhere can change that. The country is in my genes.”Role modelsAs a young player still in his formative years as a professional footballer, Tosin stated that his role models are former Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane and legendary Nigerian midfield maestro Austin Jay-Jay Okocha due to their artistry with the ball in the middle of the park. He said, “I really loved Henry & Zidane. The finesse and elegance they played with was mesmerizing, and for Nigeria, It could only be one man, the legend Jay-Jay Okocha. Can’t wait to meet him actually.”He also revealed that former Manchester United teammate Anthony Martial is an absolute masterclass in training.He said, “At United; I’d probably say, Martial. Anthony is amazing, You should see the things he does with the ball in training.”Style of play and preferred positionTosin is stated that he is a midfielder who can operate in the wide areas If required on instruction.Small is size and nibble but poses a threat to opposing teams due to his vision and ability to read the game, in the mould of Barcelona great Andres Iniesta.He stated that he likes to makes runs into the oppositions danger areas with his trickery and skill set, but humbly added that he is still in his developing phase and will improve his all-round game.He said, “I’ve previously been deployed more conservatively as a box to box midfielder. But since transitioning to the Left-wing last year; I’m really enjoying showing off more element to my game. It’s a fun position to try & master.”He, however, dismissed the notion of trying to fashion his gameplay to be similar to any of his idols as he wants to be himself.“I don’t think I could pick out one particular player but I think my playing style could be compared to a mixture of players. It’s hard to explain, You’ll just have to watch me play & see for yourself I guess.” Tosin and the Super EaglesAlready 20-years-old, Tosin is ineligible to represent Nigeria’s U-20 team Flying Eagles if the qualify for the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup.He, however, is optimistic of getting a call-up to the Super Eagles in the nearest future.Asked on the what it will feel to play for the senior national team, Tosin revealed that it will be a great honour. He said, “I don’t think I could answer that question honestly at the moment Lol but I can’t wait for the opportunity. My guess would be great pride followed by a great performance.”He also stated that following the Super Eagles heartbreaking group stage exit from the 2018 FIFA World Cup, he is hopeful of partaking at the 2022 edition in Qatar.He said, “Yes of course. That’s the goal; Not only to be in contention but one of the first names on the team sheet.”Tosin revealed that one of the reason he switched to represent Nigeria is to play with skipper Mikel Obi and Arsenal midfielder Alex Iwobi.Memorable moments and futureTosin is still developing as a footballer but has produced some moments of magic playing in the colours of Manchester United.He revealed that his favourite will be his strike in the UEFA Youth League against Wolfsburg.He said, “I remember scoring against Wolfsburg in the UEFA Youth League a few years ago. That feeling was amazing. I’m sure you’ll be able to tell from my celebrations if you could find the video.” Moving away from his achievements, Tosin is still hungry for more and is not resting on his laurels.He revealed that he wants to be a better player who has the pedigree to be regarded as one of the best in world football.He aims to have made his First team debut, Champions league debut, World cup debut & in turn be regarded as one of the top players in world football. About the next five years he said, “I want to be top of my profession; Having grown into a man, everyone around me can be proud of and dare I say, being a multiple league & cup champion. Being the best I can be really.Tosin, God, and mumTosin moved away from Manchester United to CD Feirense of Portugal in the summer transfer window, as he continues his adventure for first-team action in the Primeira Liga.Tosin revealed that he is a believer in God, and strongly upholds the virtues of his family with special praise for his mother whom he credited as the pillar of his career, as well as support from his brother, has kept him going to be a better professional. In his words, “Give it your best and leave the rest to God. But remember, you have to back your Faith with Works.”Head coach Gernot Rohr is planning for the next Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) and possibly the 2022 FIFA World Cup.With skipper Mikel ageing, like Lateef Omidiji who turned down the U.S.A to represent Nigeria, Tosin is among the possible players that have the skillset to re-energize the Super Eagles midfield and bring back the creativity solely missing since the days of Okocha.

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