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Iheanacho earns first Nigeria call-up

It’s already been a dream week for Kelechi Iheanacho but the youngster received some more good news late on Thursday night.

The 19-year old striker has been called up the Nigeria national team for the first time for the Super Eagles’ upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Iheanacho, who scored one and set up two in the 5-1 win over Crystal Palace, was the final addition to Nigeria Head Coach Sunday Oliseh’s squad following public pressure from supporters in the country.

Oliseh said “I initially called up 23 players but I am adding Kelechi Iheanacho to the list immediately. I have been following Kelechi's progress at City.”

The Super Eagles must defeat Swaziland in November’s double header in order to proceed through to the group stages of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Kelechi first rose to prominence on the world junior stage when he scored six goals and made seven assists in the 2013 FIFA U17 World Cup which helped to fire Nigeria’s Super Eaglets to success in Abu Dhabi.

This incredible contribution saw him named the U17 World Cup’s best player, earning him the coveted Golden Ball trophy.

His tally in the competition included a four goal haul against Mexico in their opening group game and, by the end of the tournament; he had a direct hand in exactly half of Nigeria’s 26 goals.

In January 2014, Kelechi claimed the prestigious “Most Promising Talent of the Year” award at the same CAF annual awards ceremony Yaya Toure was named African’s best player for a third time.

Following his Man of the Match winning performance on Wednesday night, Iheanacho said: “‘I have two brothers and a sister back in Nigeria as well. Everything I do, I do for my mum and my family – that’s what drives me.

‘My dad is back home and I’m living on my own in Manchester at the moment.

“But I think a lot of kids back home have been encouraged by what’s happened to me and by where I am today. They can’t believe what I’ve achieved at 19 and it gives them belief that they can make it too.”

We’ll let you know how Kelechi gets on in Nigeria’s double header with Swaziland on 13 and 17 November here on mcfc.co.uk

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