“I love one-on-ones” – Super Eagles and Watford ace Okoye reveals his four goalkeeping strengths

The Nigeria international will look to excel in England as he did in the Netherlands before his celebrated move

Super Eagles shot-stopper Maduka Okoye has revealed some of the goalkeeping strengths that have helped him rise from the lower leagues in Germany to the high reaches of the English Championship.

Just over two years ago, Okoye was battling it out in the fourth tier of German football with the Fortuna Düsseldorf reserve team.

But since then, the 22-year-old has built a solid reputation in the Netherlands and become the number one goalkeeper of the Super Eagles, three-time African champions.

Okoye has highlighted the qualities he possesses that have helped him earn a multimillion-euro move to Watford.

In a chat with the Watford Observer, Okoye discusses his strength in going one-on-ones with strikers, coming to claim crosses, playing the ball to his feet, and watching how great goalkeepers handle challenges.

“I love one-on-ones! For me there is nothing more beautiful than when a striker is in front of me, and it’s me or him. I have to get the ball or fail,” Okoye said.

“I like to be a presence in the air as well. I know the ball comes in the box a lot in the Championship and I enjoy that.

“Already in training, we have started work on that aspect a lot. I’m happy to take a risk and come for the ball. It’s good to do that sometimes and not just play safe.”

A big fan of Brazil great Dida, Okoye added: “Having to play with the ball at your feet as a keeper is a lot about reading the game,” he explained.

“It’s taking up the right position. I have no problem with the fact that being a goalkeeper in today’s football is about a lot more than keeping the ball out of the goal. As a keeper, I need to control the whole box at all times and be prepared to take control when the ball is outside the box.

“I like to watch other goalkeepers at the highest level and learn from what they do. The higher the standard they play in, the more they are expected to do with their feet inside and outside the box.”

Okoye is gearing up to be Watford’s number one goalkeeper next season as the Hornets aim to instantly return to the English Premier League following their relegation last term.

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