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Ikechi Anya: “In football, anything can happen!”

When Derby County came to Tenerife for a one-week training camp in the facilities of Tenerife Top Training, one player has been in the focus: Ikechi Anya is full of joy and happiness has an incredible transfer history to tell. The 29-year-old player from Glasgow speaks about mindset, success and his unique way:

Ikechi Anya’s transfer history: Oxford United U18 – Wycombe Wanderers U18 – Wycombe Wanderers– Oxford City FC– Halesowen Town– Glenn Hoddle Academy– Northhampton Town – Sevilla Atlético– Celta Vigo B – Granada CF – Cádiz CF – Granada CF – Watford FC– Granada CF – Watford FC– Derby County.

Ikechi Anya had a long way to go until he arrived in Derby now. It all started when he was a young boy. When he turned sixteen, he had his first professional club, called Wycombe U18. Things went really well for Ikechi, so he got a deal with the professional team Wycombe. After he got injured, he had to stop for surgery and got released from Wycome.

Nevertheless, Ikechi was lucky. His manager from Wycome was part of the Glenn Hoddle Academy. Glenn Hoddle fed players who started too early or who came from the Premier League like Manchester United. The academy was in Jerez, a city in Spain. “I had nothing to lose, I was nineteen and a low league player”, Ikechi explained. “At the end, I have learned so much. The best thing I learned from the academy was to be mentally strong. To be a champion you need like 20 % talent, but the main thing is in your head – if you believe you can do it, you can do it!”

        The right mindset

The mindset Glenn Hoddle taught Ikechi is still in his mind and in everything he does. With bright eyes and conviction, he continues: “It is much better to have a confident player who knows his abilities and who tries things on a pitch, rather than a player with good skills but no confidence. Glenn Hoddle taught me to keep on going even if you are down. There is a lot of pressure. It is not just fun.  For seven months, you are the centre of attention. The club does everything for you. But you have to realize: This is not the real world; this is not how it works outside.”

Later on in his career, Ikechi signed in for Sevilla Atlético and Granada CF. When he was requested to play on a three-year contract for Watford, he was over the moon. Back home and back to his family, that’s what is most important for the player with Nigerian and Rumanian parents. “It was a big jump and like the highest level, I have played in my career. The first championship and I knew, the things Glenn Hoddle told me were best placed here. I stayed until the end until we lost”, he said.

August 2016. Ikechi joined Derby County: “It is difficult when the manager who brought you in is not here anymore. But it is good to be here. There are many good teams in this league and everybody is talented and so athletic. In football, you know, anything can happen! If you have a set mindset, anything can fail. Just be open to everything and do your best.”

 

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