Nigeria goalkeeper Maduka Okoye asserts that rising through the ranks of the Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Monchengladbach academies, which produced Bernd Leno and Marc-Andre ter Stegen, has been instrumental in his growth.
The aforementioned duo started out their careers at the German clubs, and are presently on the books of Arsenal and Barcelona.
Okoye was born in Dusseldorf – a town in the region of North Rhine-Westphalia, where Leverkusen and Monchengladbach are located, to a Nigerian father and German mother.
The 20-year-old pledged his allegiance to play for the Super Eagles and received his first cap in the 1-1 draw with five-time world champions Brazil in Singapore last October.
“I played in Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Monchengladbach. This is where Leno and Ter Stegen also played in their youth,” Okoye said on the Nigeria Super Eagles YouTube Channel.
“It was important training for me and I think in a few years, this will get me far.”
Okoye - who is currently on the books of the Fortuna Dusseldorf II team, in the fourth-tier of the German football league system, is looking forward to moving up the ladder to play in the much bigger leagues.
“The good thing is I train with the first team, so it's on a high level, Bundesliga level,” he continued.
“Of course there is more interest from clubs after the game against Brazil, but we will see what the future brings.”