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Chelsea loanee Iké Ugbo to stay at Cercle Brugge until end of season, choose Nigeria national team over England

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Career decisions

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Sporting de Charleroi v Cercle Bruges - Jupiler Pro League Photo by Vincent Van Doornick/Isosport/MB Media/Getty Images

Chelsea striker Iké Ugbo has been one of the few bright spots in a Cercle Brugge team that has struggled to win matches in Belgium’s Jupiler Pro League since late November. Across a six-match losing run in the competition, Ugbo still managed to score three goals for the Green and Black. But they were not enough to pull them away from the whirlpool of bad results.

Their poor form in spite of Ugbo’s best effort turned into worries that one of the best players in the team could simply ditch them mid-season. But those fears were allayed by technical director Carlos Aviña, who said there is no chance that the striker leaves Cercle Brugge before the end of the season; and Ugbo himself, who remains focused on doing his best with the Belgian outfit.

“My agent deals with that. My focus is entirely on Cercle. I assume that I will finish the season here.”

-Iké Ugbo; Source: Het Laatste Nieuws via Google Translate

Ugbo’s current boss is former Chelsea coach Paul Clement, who trained young players like him during his years as part of our Reserves team. The now manager believes sticking to Cercle Brugge despite their current adversities is the right decision for Ugbo here, since it will be hard for him to find another team where he can play — and develop as a player — as much as he did this season.

“[Staying at Cercle Brugge] would also be the wisest choice. Nowhere else will he be able to develop like this here.

“Iké has already made huge strides, because he never collected so many minutes as this season. And in those ninety minutes he goes all out for it week after week.”

-Paul Clement; Source: Het Laatste Nieuws via Google Translate

Ugbo’s form is also attracting the eyes of those responsible for international football, most specifically in Nigeria. The Lewisham-born striker played for England’s U17 and U20 teams, but can also represent the Super Eagles due to his ancestry.

The 22-year old has big ambitions in his career, which includes playing in the World Cup. And doing so with the Nigerian national team would likely be a much easier undertaking than trying to beat the likes of Tammy Abraham and Harry Kane for a spot in the Three Lions’ squad.

“The paperwork is not quite in order yet, but my agent is working on it. Playing a World Cup is every footballer’s dream, isn’t it?”

-Iké Ugbo; Source: Het Laatste Nieuws via Google Translate

Right you are, young’un.