Young Ikechi Was So Good Teams Refused to Play against Him; EXCLUSIVE Scots Sensation's First Coach Reveals He Had Star Quality Even as Kid

Article excerpt

Byline: Dean Wilkins and Sally Hind

IKECHI Anya's first coach last night told how he was so good at the age of seven that other teams refused to play against him.

The Scotland sensation - who dazzled on his first start for the national side in Macedonia on Tuesday - joined the under-eight village side in Kidlington, Oxfordshire, when his family moved there from Glasgow's Castlemilk.

And club coach Mark Webb revealed it was quickly clear just what a talent the boy with the Glasgow accent possessed.

Mark, 48, said: "My son Simon came to me and said a friend of his called Ikechi wanted to play football but his parents weren't too keen. So he came along and I bought him his first pair of football boots and gave him some kit.

"He first played for us when he was seven and you could instantly tell he was different to other children.

"The amount of trophies we won was ridiculous but with a player like Ikechi in the team, it was inevitable.

"We were the best team in Oxford and quite often we weren't allowed to enter competitions because parents would moan about how good he was.

"He would make a simple pass when others would run until they couldn't run any further. He used his head from an early age and without doubt he was born with a footballing brain.

"He always had an eye for a teammate and could play anywhere. I used to play him as central midfielder so he spent the most time on the ball.

"I just knew that if he kept injuryfree and his head down, he would be able to make it. I am so proud for him and happy for his family. Whenever he is home, he is always the first to come around and say hello.

"He was always a shy boy but you could see his passion for football. He was always playing football against a wall, with his friends in the park or at ool. I am delighted to have been olved with his career. I wouldn't school. involved career. call myself the brains behind it but I could certainly spot his talent and pushed him to do the best he could."

Yesterday, Ikechi's mum Mariena told of her pride at her 25-year-old son's amazing international breakthrough, which included a goal in Scotland's win in Macedonia - and how it was a dream come true for the passionate young Scot who stars for Watford in the English Championship Mariena is Romanian, while Ikechi's father Chinasa is Nigerian. But their lad is 100 per cent Scottish, having been born in Glasgow and brought up in Castlemilk. …