Tyler Onyango who stars for English Premier League (EPL) club Everton's youth side in the Premier League 2 (Professional U23 Development League), might have been born in Luton, England, but his latest comments are sure to get Kenyan football fans excited.
The 16-year-old midfielder with Kenyan roots has already been called up to England's Under-17 national team once before but remains eligible to play for Kenya's national team, Harambee Stars.
Described as a 'machine' by his coaches at Everton who fast-tracked his development as he created a reputation as one of the hot young prospects in English football, Onyango told Nation in a Sunday, February 23, report that he was open to playing for Kenya in the future, revealing that his ties to the country remained strong.
“I am eligible to play for Kenya and it is definitely something I’d be open to as you never know what the future holds so I want to keep my mind open to any opportunities that may occur,” he stated.
It was revealed in the same interview that while Onyango's family wants him to play for Kenya, the decision of whether to feature for either the Three Lions or Harambee Stars would be left to the talented youngster.
“As for playing for Kenya or England, I have totally left that up to Tyler to decide. I know where my heart lies and would love to see him represent Kenya like his uncles but that will be up to him,” his father stated.
Onyango disclosed that while his Swahili was poor, he had visited the country several times including in 2018.
“I have been to Kenya many times over the years most recently in the summer of 2018. I have a very big family in Kenya so it is always nice to come home to visit everyone. Unfortunately, I can’t speak Swahili or Luo. Expect a few odd words but it is definitely something I want to learn,” he stated.
In December 2019, Everton youth coach Paul Tait hailed Onyango's unique abilities in an interview with Liverpool-based publication Echo even as he called for patience with the youngster's development.
"He's 6ft 3in. He's an absolute machine in terms of his physicality so he catches your eye straight away.
"His out-of-possession stuff is very good, but I wouldn't get too carried away. I think we get too carried away sometimes and build these young players up.
"I think he's still got loads to do, I've watched all of his under-23 games and he's done some good bits and some bits where it's been a bit too quick for him which is understandable because he's only 16," he stated.
Tait explained that with greater work on his control of the ball in tight areas, Onyango was headed straight to the top.
"But the work we've been doing with him is to get him better with his feet. Receiving in tight areas, shifting the ball, switching the play, in tight areas is where he has to get better.
"Open the pitch up and you can see, he can run, he's a lovely mover, so on a big pitch, he's fine. But the work we've been doing with him and the work that we have to continue is working in tight areas in midfield," he stated.
FIFA stipulations allow players such as Onyango, with Kenyan parents, to appear for their countries of origin at senior level even if they represented their adopted nations at youth level.
Watch a video of Onyango scoring for Everton in a 10-0 win against Sunderland in September 2019 below:
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