Biography, Life And Profile Of Wilfred Ndidi

ABOUT

Onyinye Wilfred Ndidi known as Wilfred Ndidi, is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays for Premier League club Leicester City and the Nigeria national team as a midfielder. He is known for his versatility and can play across the back line and in midfield. Below you will find every detail on Ndidi including his state of origin

BACKGROUND AND HISTORY

The son of a soldier, Ndidi was born in Lagos on December 16, 1996 but the youngster’s quick adaptation to European life and football was largely aided by a Belgian couple, Theo van Vlierden and his wife, Marleen, who adopted the emerging star on his arrival at Genk in 2015.
African players struggle to adapt to the weather, food, culture, language and several other barriers on their arrival in Europe but Ndidi, the footballer with humble beginnings, found love in Belgium the moment he met the Van Vlierdens.

The couple tells ’TANA AIYEJINA about their first encounter with Ndidi and how they have lived as one happy family ever after in an interview below;

How and when did you get to know Wilfred?
Theo: That was the beginning of January 2014 when Wilfred arrived in Belgium for his two-month test period with KRC Genk. At that moment he was still a young guy, just 17 years old. The first three or four days he arrived, he was staying in a hotel. But there was a lack of hospitality space and KRC Genk called us with the request if we wanted to take Wilfred in our home for a few weeks. My wife and I looked at each other, we didn’t say anything and we nodded our heads, which meant yes.
What was your first impression of him and what attracted your family to him?
Marleen: I think our first impression of Wilfred was one of a shy and timid boy. We immediately thought it must be very cold in his summer clothes, it was winter and very cold. His shy smile and pearly white teeth did the rest and we agree.
How challenging was it for him adapting to life in Europe?
Theo: Of course it’s a big challenge for every boy of that age to adapt in a foreign country. But I must say that he has adapted quickly to life here and even in England. When he first got to Belgium, he felt quite at home after just a few weeks. We also told him several times what he should do when he was at home and he was a part of our family.
They say Wilfred is such a charming personality, do you agree?
Marleen: Yes, we fully agree. Wilfred is a charming personality. Always good humoured, friendly and polite. Not only in our home, also towards other people. He is loved by KRC Genk staff, his teammates and the fans.
When he made the move to England, how did the family feel? Theo: After more than two years living together, this certainly creates a special bond. Of course we have and will always miss him. He has become a part of the family. He is our son and will always stay our son. His move to England left Marleen with some tears. For me, it was also very emotional. We hear from him almost on a daily basis via WhatsApp and social media. In the past few months, we visited him with our son Christophe, several times. The first time was in January for the game between Leicester City and Chelsea. The second time was a few weeks after then. Together with our son, we transported in a Ford Transit van, we took his clothes and other things via the Channel Tunnel to Leicester in the UK. In March and April we also visited him again and we watched a few games of Leicester.
With his amazing talents and personality, how far do you think Wilfred can get as a footballer?
Theo: We strongly believe Wilfred will go very far as a football player. If his attitude keeps focused on football, he will make progress. For sure, I do not believe that this is his final station.
Ndidi scored his first goal in England, a superb 25-yard effort in the FA Cup. How did the family celebrate the goal?
Marleen: We were very happy. At the same time that evening my husband and son were at the Belgian Golden Shoe Gala evening. Wilfred was awarded with the Most Beautiful Goal of the Year 2016 in Belgium and he was also one of the three nominees for the Promising Young Player of the Year. He scored a magnificent goal against Club Brugge, which you would have also seen, I suppose.
Quite a lot of people feel it would be difficult for him to fill N’Golo Kante’s large boots. Were you skeptical initially?
Theo: No I was not at all. You cannot compare both players. Kante is Kante and Ndidi is Ndidi. Let’s face the future, Kante has large boots but Ndidi has long and extendable legs that are everywhere to recover the ball. He has a very large running ability and huge endurance.
When he first arrived in Belgium, how did he cope with the food, weather, culture etc?
Marleen: Of course it took some time. But in general everything was going very well. I cooked a lot of food with rice, noodles and chicken. He also likes to eat egg omelette with ham, tomatoes and onions. He also finds delicious oven casserole, meatloaf with mashed potatoes and leeks. Sometimes a Nigerian teammate brought him Nigerian food from the city of Antwerp. The weather was something else. I hear in Nigeria it’s always warm between 28 degrees in winter till 36 degrees and more in summer. That is a lot of difference with the temperature here. For example he never saw snow (before he arrived in Belgium).
How much do you know about his Nigerian roots?

Theo: We know something about his roots. We saw some pictures of his mother, father and two younger sisters. Of course we know something of the Nigerian society and we see also the news on TV.

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Wilfred Ndidi Parents; He talks about his birth parents below

According to Ndidi, his father, a soldier, wanted him to go to school.
Ndidi in an interview with Leicester Mercury spoke about his background and career progression thus far.
“My family were not really into football. My dad wanted me to go to school, not play football,” he said.
“My dad watched it on the television but he didn’t want me to play football. He is a soldier, but he didn’t want me to follow in his footsteps, he just wanted me to go to school.
“I did miss out on some school because of football. When I moved to Nath Boys academy, then I started to miss out on some of my schooling.”
The 20-year-old revealed that his family was yet to watch him play live.
“My family haven’t been over to see me play yet. They only see it on TV,” he said.
“I remember kicking a ball around as a child, but I was not in any training or anything. I just had a very small ball and I just kicked it around by my home.
“I was 14 when I joined Nath Boys Academy. We played in a competition and a scout from Genk was there. I was 16 or 17 when they came in for me.
“I was offered a trial at Genk and the president of Nath Boys came with me to Belgium for the trials.
“It was very different to what I was used to but before that I had been travelling with Nath Boys and we played in a tournament in Portugal.
“We had played against Hull City and Celtic, so it wasn’t completely new.”
Ndidi also narrated how he moved to Leicester without knowing that the English club was one of those keeping tabs on him.
“I was not told Leicester were watching me. I was told different clubs were watching me but I told my manager not to tell me because I didn’t want it in my head.
“I just wanted to play and if it comes then it is okay. I tried to manage myself so I wasn’t thinking too much about it.
“It was unbelievable what happened last season.
“No-one expected it. It was a fairytale. It didn’t help in my decision though. It was an easy decision to come to Leicester and to the Premier League.
“When I was going on to the pitch I was nervous, seeing players like Romelu Lukaku and the players I was used to seeing on television,” he said.
“But when the game started I was like ‘okay, let’s just do it.’
“That is how I try to do things. That is the way I live,” he added.

CAREER AND LIFESTYLE

Ndidi made his Belgian Pro League debut with Genk on 31 January 2015 against Charleroi in a 1–0 away defeat. He played the first 74 minutes of the game, before being substituted for Jarne Vrijsen. He played a full back role in that game before returning to the centre-back position he played at the Nath Boys academy. He displayed a wide range of passing and shooting and began to be deployed as a central midfielder for the rest of the season. During the Belgian League play-off game against Club Brugge, Ndidi scored a long-range goal, which was named the goal of the season in the Belgian league. After receiving an attempted-clearance outside the penalty box, he lofted the ball smoothly over an opposing player before unleashing a ferocious volley into the top right corner. The ball was adjudged to be travelling at over 111 km/h.

He scored two more goals before the end of the play-offs including another volley from outside the box against Anderlecht in a 5–2 win. He received the award as the third-best young player in the Belgian league for the 2015–16 season.

Ndidi Transfer: Leicester City

On 3 December 2016, Genk agreed a £17 million transfer deal with English champions Leicester City. The deal was confirmed on 5 January 2017. Ndidi made his debut for the club on 7 January 2017, in a 2–1 win against Everton in the third round of the FA Cup. He made his first Premier League start on 14 January 2017 against Chelsea at home in a 3–0 defeat. In the English FA Cup game against Derby County on 8 February 2017, Ndidi came on in the first half of extra time and scored his first goal for Leicester through a long-range shot. In a 3–1 win over Liverpool on 27 February 2017, Ndidi won 11 of his 14 tackles, a feat bettered only by Chelsea’s N’Golo Kanté who made 14 tackles against the same club in January. Ndidi got his first career red card in a 3–0 loss to Crystal Palace on 16 December 2017 – which also happens to be his birthday

Ndidi was part of the Nigerian youth setup during his time at Nathaniel Boys of Lagos. While playing the African U-17 Championship with Nigeria, he was excluded along with two other players from the competition as a precaution, following an MRI age test that suggested he was just slightly above the threshold. Notwithstanding, he joined up with his teammates in the U-20 team the following year, forming the bedrock of the midfield. He was called up to the Senior Nigeria national football team on October 8, 2015, making his debut in the friendly game against DR Congo, and playing again a few days later in the 3–0 win against Cameroon, when he replaced John Obi Mikel in the 63rd minute.
He was selected by Nigeria for their 35-man provisional squad for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

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WILFRED TALKS MORE ABOUT HIMSELF AND CAREER BELOW

In years to come it may seem particularly far-fetched that when Wilfred Ndidi took his early steps as a midfielder things did not quite go to plan. It was July 2015 and Ndidi, whose first six months at Genk had been spent making cameo appearances across the defence under Alex McLeish, had been repurposed by the newly arrived coach Peter Maes. A first midfield outing against OH Leuven had gone respectably; a far bigger test would come in the season’s second fixture, away at Belgium’s reigning champions, Gent, and a cocktail of pressure and inexperience took its toll on the then 18-year-old.
“I was so nervous that I couldn’t pass the ball properly,” Ndidi remembers. “I was new to the position and the coach wasn’t the kind who keeps calm, he screams a lot at every player. So I didn’t play well and he took me off at half-time. At half-time!”

The repetition is accompanied by a laugh and it is the nearest that Ndidi, modest to a fault, comes to suggesting wonder at the journey he has taken since then. That jittery performance at Gent led to a brief run of games on the bench but he made himself undroppable upon returning and, three months since joining a Leicester City side whose fortunes have swung wildly in that time, he is nearing similar status in the east Midlands.

Leicester saw in Ndidi the same things as Maes – “a lot of running and trying to win balls”, is what the player suspects – but there has already been so much more. He arrived with a reputation for scoring rarely but spectacularly; a driving run and finish in the FA Cup replay with Derby, bettered by last weekend’s thrilling long-range effort against Stoke in the league, bore that out quickly and alongside those thunderclaps has been a composure that belies his years. It may have taken the champions half a season to get over the departure of N’Golo Kanté but, in a player almost six years younger, have they now found someone who – for a relatively moderate £17m – could represent an upgrade?

It is a valid question but not the kind of talk that interests Ndidi. “I can only see myself as myself,” he says. “Whether people say I play like Kanté, or that he’s better than me, I don’t listen to them. All I want to do is play and keep improving, and it is working well at the moment – we are doing the basic things well and we try to kick on from there. I prefer to enjoy the winning mentality of the team rather than how I play or what I try to achieve.”

Ndidi is not given to grand pronouncements about the present but offers enough colour about his past to suggest where his discipline comes from. A childhood spent living in a military zone just outside Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, was hardly an archetypal footballer’s upbringing and it was sometimes an achievement to get a ball out at all. His father, a soldier who moved around frequently on peacekeeping operations in locations such as Sudan and the troubled far north of Nigeria, preferred more scholarly pursuits and his absences were to be capitalised upon rather than mourned. “I’d be happy when he went away because he never wanted me to play football,” Ndidi says. “He wanted to make sure I was at school. Whenever he went anywhere I was, like: ‘Right, I’m going to play.’”
There was a well-run setup of army teams, leading from under-10 level to a senior side, and by his mid-teens Ndidi had caught the attention of Nduka Ugbade, who had captained Nigeria to victory at what was then the Fifa Under-16 Championship in 1985 and was helping out with coaching at the barracks.

“I think what I did with him meant that I was stronger than people expected when I went into physical contact,” Ndidi explains of a regime that sounds punishing but was presumably intended to harness a talent that leapt out at Ugbade. “It wasn’t normal training, we would just keep running – there would be two pitches every time and we would have to cover them. Even when you were tired, he’d tell you to keep going. There would be three sessions a day: morning, afternoon and evening. Most of the other players didn’t come because they were scared and couldn’t cope. But he kept pushing me and pushing me, saying that I should not worry about my age and that in football you could beat anybody.”

A place at Nath Boys’ academy, among the best-regarded of Lagos’s many football schools, resulted and perhaps this is where Ugbade’s exhausting sessions bore fruit. It is easy – far too easy – to slip through the cracks as a budding footballer in Nigeria, sometimes with demeaning and dangerous results. The tiny minority that achieve the dream are fortunate but also have something that sets them apart.
When Ndidi was 16, Nath Boys entered a tournament that he says involved about 40 teams and pitted academies against senior sides from Nigeria’s Premier League. Among the scouts watching was Roland Janssen, then of Genk and now employed by Manchester United, and one particular moment from what was in effect a shop window event sticks in Ndidi’s mind.
“We were playing a team from the top division and losing 1-0 towards the end of the game,” he says. “You could tell they were much older, but we were trying to play. I was playing centre-back and passed to our midfielder, who held the ball, and I ran forward into the open space. If you remember my goal against Derby, I ran in through the middle because it was open. This time, he gave the ball back to me and then before anybody could react our striker had made a run and I played it between the two defenders. He controlled it and scored, and the whole stadium was happy because an academy team had equalised. It was a one-two up the pitch and then a pass; maybe that’s what they saw.”
It certainly sounds like some piece of initiative from a player who, back then, drew upon John Terry as a major influence for his defensive work. This was something quite different and in January 2014 Ndidi, who by now was also involved in Nigeria’s youth teams, travelled to Belgium for a month-long assessment by Genk. A contract offer followed quickly and a year later, shortly after he had turned 18, the move was formalised.
Then it was a case of taking information on board as quickly as possible. How things would have panned out had McLeish remained in charge is uncertain but under Maes the art of midfield play was boiled down to its simplest elements. At times Ndidi felt it was “like he was teaching an academy player how to become a midfielder”, with drills amounting to little more than “take it, pass, open, pass, open, pass”. Simplicity was the key to Ndidi’s conversion; he had already shown, in front of Janssen, that the decorative elements were there.

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It was not the time to be flashy when, at Leicester, he was pitched straight into a side whose winter freefall was shortly to hit what seemed like terminal velocity. Claudio Ranieri sat him down in front of the tactics board before his debut, at Everton in the FA Cup, telling him to sit ahead of the back four and, most important, be himself. The manager’s sacking five weeks later came as a surprise; Ndidi had not been around to experience the highs of Ranieri’s reign – and admits he did not watch much of the title-winning campaign – but still felt the departure of the latest man to put faith in him.
“When the manager left we were all sad,” he says. “But it wasn’t a decision I could put in my head, I was sad but had to move on. We just had to pick ourselves up quickly and say: ‘Come on, we need to push harder and harder,’ because we weren’t in a good position in the league.”
The results since then, under Craig Shakespeare, speak for themselves and when Leicester step out at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon they will do so with six straight wins behind them. One of those set up Wednesday’s improbable Champions League quarter-final first leg with Atlético Madrid and Ndidi smiles at the memory of the 2-0 win over Sevilla, before which “we said to ourselves in the dressing room that we had to work like slaves”.

Jamie Vardy and Kasper Schmeichel made headlines for their performances but Ndidi – eating up the ground in a manner that Ugbade, back in Lagos, must have been proud of – was the best midfielder on view. “Working like that was the only way we could achieve [the win], so we tried all we could and everything went right,” he says. “There was never a moment when we felt safe. The only time we had some relief was after the red card [for Samir Nasri]. Then we felt: ‘OK, we can do this.’”

Leicester hope to replicate that feeling at the Estadio Vicente Calderón and ties against Spanish opposition have served Ndidi well this season. He scored twice in Europa League group stage meetings with Athletic Bilbao while still with Genk – a header and one of those trademark screamers – in further evidence that whenever the bar has been raised, he has been ready for the challenge. And although Leicester are, even on current form, rank outsiders, it is hardly as if Atlético have not been forewarned.

His adaptation at Leicester has been helped by the presence of Ahmed Musa, his international team-mate with Nigeria. Musa has not made the same impact as Ndidi despite arriving last summer with a more accomplished reputation and it may only be slightly harsh to suggest his fortunes have embodied the scattergun thinking of late-Ranieri. But it was Musa who, on the telephone, urged Ndidi to join him in England and who, when his young compatriot arrived, took care of him with simple gestures like driving him to the airport before away games.

Ndidi was “a little bit nervous” when he first set foot in Leicester’s training ground so it helped to have a friend close at hand and they will also link up in Russia next summer if Nigeria, four points clear in their qualifying group, qualify for the World Cup. A vibrant, youthful side also includes the Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi and Chelsea’s Victor Moses; Nigeria faced Senegal in London last month and were mobbed on the pitch by their supporters after drawing 1-1 at The Hive.

“They were hugging us and taking photos,” he says. “The game was a good exercise, we have a good group and we’re now just looking at what we need to do to reach the World Cup. We have to look at what’s ahead and then go for it.”
It is an attitude that, aside from that false start in Gent, has brought little other than success so far.

Wilfred Ndidi State Of Origin

Many have been asking Wilfred Ndidi is from which state in Nigeria, well, after several research we could conclude Wilfred Ndidi hails from Anambra state Nigeria. Even though Ndidi grew up at the Military Cantonment in Ikeja, Lagos and started playing football at the Command Children School before proceeding to the Nath Academy where he also played.

WILFRED NDIDI SALARY

We can exclusively reveal that the player, who once lived in foster homes in Nigeria and Belgium, as of march 2018 he is on a weekly wage of 50,000 pounds at Premier League champions Leicester City, which comes down to about 96 million Naira a month.

Watch wilfred ndidi goals below;

CREDITS: tinamagazine.com, wikipedia.org

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