Samuel Chukwueze: Profile, Expert Analysis, Tactical Overview & Video

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10 July 2019, Egypt, Cairo: Nigeria's Samuel Chukwueze celebrates scoring his side's first goal during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations quarter final soccer match between Nigeria and South Africa at the Cairo International Stadium. Photo: Oliver Weiken/dpa (Photo by Oliver Weiken/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Samuel Chukwueze: Profile

Name: Samuel Chukwueze

Date of birth: May 22nd, 1999

Nationality: Nigeria

Position: Winger

Height: 1.72m

Samuel Chukwueze: Introduction

A lightning fast wide man with technical skill and a cultured left foot. Samuel Chukwueze’s story of reaching professional football could have led to the talent never being discovered whatsoever were it not for a school friend.

Developed in his home country of Nigeria, Chukwueze did not make it to Europe until his late adolescence. Since, the Nigerian has gone from strength to strength, far from the finished article but with a high ceiling.

Samuel Chukwueze: Background

Born in Umuahia, Abia in Nigeria, Samuel Chukwueze’s journey to professional football was treacherous. Growing up, the Nigerian loved football from an early age but his family appeared determined for him to focus on education.

“I was a good student,” Chukwueze says. “But when you love something and you are so passionate about it, it becomes your focus. Your studies start to fade. I was obsessed with playing football.”

“Sometimes, I would go to training and would return home late, and I knew I was going to get punished. They’d say I would have to sleep outside. My mum would say I couldn’t come inside the house! My uncle told me ‘Samuel, you need to stop playing this game and focus on school’ but I didn’t listen. Then, one day they burned my boots! All my training gear, they burnt them so I couldn’t go.”

However, his family soon came around and encouraged him to attend a trial at the Diamond Football Academy, which Samuel passed. Winning the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in 2015, the rise of Chukwueze was meteoric. Signing for Villarreal in 2017 despite interest from a host of European clubs.

Despite his continuing impressive development, the Nigerian has been very grounded regarding his future. “I know I am going in the right direction,” he says. “I am happy just to be playing football and to see where that takes me. I always try to see the bigger picture, and to stay patient. I am not one who wants everything immediately. I am happy to take smaller steps on the way to the bigger goals.”

Expert insight on Samuel Chukwueze

101 spoke to La Liga commentator and author of The 50: Football’s Most Influential Players Jon Driscoll

“We would be doing Chukwueze a disservice not to focus first on his pace. He is quick off the mark so he can accelerate past defenders in tight spaces but also rapid over longer distances making him a devastating threat when counter attacking.”

“He is skilful enough to take on defenders on both sides. He is left-footed but used predominantly on the right. He then looks to cut inside and either play one-twos or score the ‘Arjen Robben goal’.”

“He doesn’t stay wide, happily roaming across the front line, occasionally attacking from the left, or looking for scoring and creative opportunities in the No 10 position. His defensive attributes are not great, but he is willing to ‘do a shift’ helping his full-back. Understandably, his coaches haven’t made this a feature of his game.”

“For a man of his ability, Chukwueze’s goalscoring record is modest, largely because his finishing is erratic, but inexperience is clearly a factor here. His relatively weak right foot is another limiting factor.”

Tactical Overview of Samuel Chukwueze

A highly offensive-styled wide man, Samuel Chukwueze’s inverted nature provides challenges. Often inverted wingers can become easy to defend against due to their predictability. Cutting inside is the ‘go to’ movement and Chukwueze certainly embodies that style. However, creatively, the Nigerian often looks for a variety of passing options into the box.

Both short, incisive passes and, to a lesser extent, lofted balls over defenders. This variety goes some way to lessening how easy the wide man is to read for defenders.

Playing from the right, Samuel Chukwueze spots the run of Gerard Moreno early and plays a low incisive ball to find the Spaniard.

Playing from the right, Samuel Chukwueze spots the run of Gerard Moreno early and plays a low incisive ball to find the Spaniard.

Chukwueze's pass weight is as such that the ball accelerates beyond the closing defenders but slows to meet Moreno's run.

Chukwueze’s pass weight is as such that the ball accelerates beyond the closing defenders but slows to meet Moreno’s run.

Alternatively, Chukwueze will decide to step inside if no passing lanes open up. He can choose to use lofted balls over defences to find the moving left full-back.

Alternatively, Chukwueze will decide to step inside if no passing lanes open up. He can choose to use lofted balls over defences to find the moving left full-back.

In this instance, Chukwueze finds Alfonso Pedraza and the wide man is fouled earning Villarreal a penalty.

In this instance, Chukwueze finds Alfonso Pedraza and the wide man is fouled earning Villarreal a penalty.

If deemed necessary, the coach can field the Nigerian on the left flank, however this predominantly restricts him to a crossing and chance creation role.

Heavily left-footed, Chukwueze will avoid the use of his right but can cross and play inverted through balls with the outside of his boot.

Heavily left-footed, Chukwueze will avoid the use of his right but can cross and play inverted through balls with the outside of his boot.

In terms of the Nigerian’s shot-taking, being heavily left-footed often leads to the cutting in, however, he uses his technical skill on the ball to convince defenders otherwise. This allows him to create space and a greater opportunity to take and convert chances.

When played the ball by Santi Cazorla, Chukwueze uses the space ahead of him to fake the defenders.

When played the ball by Santi Cazorla, Chukwueze uses the space ahead of him to fake the defenders.

Chukwueze cuts inside and produces a curling effort beyond the keeper.

Chukwueze cuts inside and produces a curling effort beyond the keeper.

However, when not on the ball, the Nigerian’s movement also allows him to enter goal-scoring situations. Still cutting in from the left, Chukwueze uses his spatial awareness to find spaces between the defence and midfield when colleagues run down the left wing.

Pointing to the space in the middle of the box, Chukwueze peels off the back of the opposition left-back and moves into the vacant area.

Pointing to the space in the middle of the box, Chukwueze peels off the back of the opposition left-back and moves into the vacant area.

Whilst the pass does not come immediately, Chukwueze continues his run to create the lane. He is found and finishes clinically into the top corner.

Whilst the pass does not come immediately, Chukwueze continues his run to create the lane. He is found and finishes clinically into the top corner.

Samuel Chukwueze possesses all the technical skill, pace and timing to become a top-class wide player. Defensively, he needs to add to his work rate and cover. Consistency in his finishing and final product will develop over time. Chukwueze has defied the odds to reach the level he is at and will likely continue to do so as his career is furthered.

Samuel Chukwueze: Official video

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Samuel Chukwueze: Social sites

See also: Jules Koundé: Profile, Expert Analysis, Tactical Overview & Video

Jeremie Frimpong: Profile, Expert Analysis, Tactical Overview & Video


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