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11 facts you need to know about Sadiq Umar

18-year-old Sadiq Umar scored his first ever goal for Roma just seven minutes after coming on as a second-half substitute against Genoa.

Here’s 11 facts you need to know about the young striker…

1. Sadiq was born in Kaduna, the the state capital of Kaduna State in north-western Nigeria.

2. Despite being only 18 years old, Sadiq is 6 foot, four inches tall (1.92m).

3. The youngster grew up playing on the streets of Kaduna before joining the Future of Africa Academy and the Football College Abuja, where he was spotted by AC Spezia.

4. He got his love of football from his father. “I started playing football when I was very little on the streets of Kaduna,” he revealed in an interview in February. “My interest in the game increased as I grew up. My father Umar Abubakar, known as ‘Mega’ ,was a footballer. He was a striker for Ranchers Bees back then. He was a major influence in making me choose football as a career.”

5. The Nigerian was an instant hit during his first season at AC Spezia – scoring 14 goals in his first 18 Primavera outings.

6. Swapping Nigeria for Italy wasn’t easy, he admits. “It was tough because it was my first time in Europe,” he says of the move. “It wasn't easy as I had to adapt to a lot of things that I wasn't used to, both in terms of the playing part and the life in general, but gradually I started getting used to it and things improved as time went by. It wasn't easy but I really thank God that I can now say I’ve settled in nicely.”

7. He joined Roma on loan during the summer and made his Serie A debut for the first team on 21 November 2015 against Bologna, replacing Juan Iturbe after 88 minutes in the 2-2 away draw.

8. At Roma, he’s already scored 14 Primavera goals this season – eight in the league, four in the UEFA Youth League and two in Coppa Italia.

9. He believes he’s become a better player since moving to Italy. “I can say that my game has improved both physically and technically. I can say I'm more aware of my role now as a striker more than ever and you are aware that Italian football is very tactical. Defensively they are tight which makes it difficult for any striker. I'm very grateful to Almighty Allah for giving me the opportunity to start my career in Italy.”

10. His hero growing up was Nigeria international Nwankwo Kanu – a footballer some pundits in Africa have compared his player style to. “I feel honoured to be compared to such a legend and a great African football ambassador who also at one time in his career played in Italy," Sadiq told Supersport before joining Roma. “I hope and pray to work hard and achieve as much as he did. I loved watching him play when I was a kid and every day I work hard on my game to be the best. He is my role model. I’ll work hard and make sure I achieve my goals of being the best. With God, everything is possible.”

11. He dreams of representing his country at senior level one day in the future. “Every serious footballer will always have the ambition of representing his country and I’m no exception. I will keep working hard on my game and keep improving.”

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