It was all looking so good for Henry Onyekuru towards the end of 2017 - he was in sparkling form for Anderlecht, there was a chance he would make the Nigeria World Cup squad, which would then grease the wheels for his Premier League work permit application and likely he could have been in Everton’s squad for this coming season.
A knee injury put paid to all of that, but depending on which camp you listen to, there are claims that his injury was used as an excuse to not play him towards the end of the season so that he wouldn’t be named in the Super Eagles’ squad, and thereby quash any chances of playing at Everton this season.
Speaking to Belgian outlet HLN, Onyekuru lashed out at Anderlecht, and in particular manager Hein Vanhaezebrouck -
“I would not know how Vanhaezebrouck’s voice should sound, I have not spoken to him for weeks.
“I had to read in the press and hear that I was not ready, but I have worked very hard to get back. come, but apparently that was not enough for some.”
Press reports seemed to indicate that he was fit and available for selection towards the middle of April but continued to be kept at the youth squad while Anderlecht contested the Jupiler League playoffs where they could have used his attacking prowess.
“Upon my return I was asked to do two weeks of exercises to strengthen my knee, I made three weeks of it. I was told too much, but I was told by Bruges that I was allowed to come in, but no, even Leander Dendoncker came to ask why I was not in the selection.”
He went on to claim that being benched meant he had no chance of playing in Russia this summer at the global showcase.
“Anderlecht have cost me my World Cup, but they knew that I needed to get a work permit for England by not letting me play, I could not go to Russia and they tried to keep me for another season at Anderlecht.
“I played at the top of Belgian football, made minutes in the Champions League and had good contact with the fans, the teammates and the board. enough everything changed when René Weiler left.”
Regarding his future, Onyekuru revealed that while a deal was in place for another season in Belgium for him, he has no intention of going back after how he has been treated by the manager.
“I can confirm that Anderlecht had a deal with Everton about a second season on a loan basis, but the final decision was with me, but now it’s certain - I will not stay. I have to sign in. Only the trainer did not need me in the last few weeks, that’s not the point, right? I go somewhere where I do get respect, abroad.”
He has recently been linked with a move to German club Borussia Monchengladbach as well as Turkish side Besiktas.