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Young Everton forward still hopeful of playing in the World Cup

Onyekuru set to return to action this weekend after over five months out

RSC Anderlecht v Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Henry Onyekuru playing at Everton next season could come down to whether he makes the Nigeria squad for this summer’s 2018 World Cup, so the news of his return to action will come as welcome relief to Blues everywhere.

After picking up knee ligament damage in December while at Anderlecht in the Belgian Jupiler League, Onyekuru returned to Finch Farm for rehabilitation before resuming training a month ago.

The speedy winger, who has been targeted by Barcelona and Manchester United in the last year, appears to have completed his recovery unscathed and featured for the Anderlecht Under-21 side last night in a youth league game, picking up an assist after coming on for the last 25 minutes.

Speaking after the game to Belgian outlet La Dernière Heure, Onyekuru was confident of making the squad for this weekend’s upcoming clash against Charleroi.

“I knew there would be no worries because I work a lot, I was not scared at all.

“The goal was to regain some rhythm, I’m already hoping to be in the group on Sunday against Charleroi.”

Anderlecht have qualified for the six-team Belgian championship playoff, but halfway through the mini-League format they sit in fifth, four points adrift of Standard Liege. The side could desperately use the pace and creativity of Onyekuru who picked up nine goals in 19 appearances before getting injured.

The 20-year-old completed his transfer to the Blues last summer from KAS Eupen but didn’t meet the work permit eligibility requirements and was sent out on loan to Anderlecht. Following his appearances this season in the Champions League, he looks to have done enough for the Toffees to apply for special dispensation for Onyekuru, but a spot in the World Cup squad for Nigeria will likely endure he makes the criteria for a work permit that’ll allow him to display his talents in the Premier League next season.