Ikechukwu Uche urges Samuel Chukwueze to ignore speculations over future at Villarreal

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The youngster's rise at the Estadio de la Ceramica has drawn transfer interests from top European clubs including Atletico Madrid

Former Villarreal star Ikechukwu Uche has advised compatriot Samuel Chukwueze to ignore rumours surrounding his future and continue his development at the club.

Chukwueze is having a memorable campaign in the Spanish club after being promoted from the reserve team to Luis Garcia's squad this season.

The Nigeria international has scored four goals in 13 outings in all competitions, including two efforts in the Spanish top-flight, since he made his first-team debut in September.

His form has sparked talk of interest from league rivals Atletico Madrid and undisclosed Premier League clubs.

However, Uche who scored 35 goals in his four-year stay at the Estadio de la Ceramica outfit, has warned the 2015 Fifa u17 World Cup winner to focus on his growth and ignore the speculations.

"Chukwueze is doing well at Villarreal so it's only normal to have growing speculation about his future in the media, but he is in a good place," Uche told BBC Sport.

"He should treat all this attention as a compliment and continue to grow because his impressive rise from the reserves to the first team is still fresh.

"Villarreal is a good club, he is being taken care of and he's surrounded by quality players that will help him grow.

"The people there are dedicated to protecting and improving him, so there is no pressure on him.

"I've been following his progress and I know some of the people there, so let's just say he has the potential to become a successful player at the club," Uche added.

"I haven't had a chance to speak to him but personally I want him to stay.

"I'm sure he will do what is right for his career, I'm just happy to see another African and Nigerian making a positive impact at Villarreal."

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IK PS

Chukwueze who has started all of Villarreal's game since he made his LaLiga debut on November 4, will aim to inspire his side to victory when they host Real Madrid on Thursday.

Villarreal languish in the drop zone with 15 points from 16 matches.

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