VICTOR ANICHEBE will finally fulfil his potential at Everton next season with the benefit of a full pre-season, according to Daniel Amokachi.
The former Everton striker and Nigeria assistant manager says that power-house Anichebe, 23, is still regarded as promising young talent by national coaches, and will prove himself as a consistent performer in the Premier League if he stays fit.
Amokachi insists that his younger countryman can use his muscular physique to become an effective target man, and bring Everton’s skilful midfielders into the game. Anichebe struggled with injuries last season, failing to find the net in just 18 appearances, but regained form and fitness towards the end of the campaign and managed to regain a regular first team place.
He signed a new four-and-a-half year contract in January, and has recently forced his way back into the Nigerian national team, impressing as the Super Eagles thumped Argentina 4-1 last month.
Amokachi said: “Victor has been playing well for Nigeria and that has been good for his confidence. Hopefully he can bring that form back to Everton with him.
“In Nigeria he is seen as a player with a lot of potential. He has done well for the national team and is viewed as a player who can be a star of the future.
“The Nigerian fans like him a lot as they always like players who give you 100 per cent. Victor always does that. Even when things aren’t going well for him he tries his best.”
Amokachi believes Anichebe’s various injuries have taken a greater poll on the youngster than many realise.
And the 38-year-old, who paid a flying visit to Merseyside for Saturday’s Mersey Masters at the ECHO Arena, thinks a full pre-season will do wonders for the forward ahead of the 2011/12 campaign.
“It was good to see Victor back in the team last season,” he said. “He has had such bad luck with injuries and that is what has held him back. Hopefully he can stay fit for the whole of next season and, if he can do that, then I am sure he can become an important player for both Nigeria and Everton.
“For me he is still a player who has a lot of promise. He is strong, he can score goals and he can hold the ball up and help get Everton’s quality midfielders into the game.
“People don’t realise how much his injuries have affected him. This time hopefully he will get a full pre-season under his belt and he will be at the same level as all the other players and he’ll show what he is capable of.”
Meanwhile, Italian Serie A side Palermo are reported to be interested in Everton’s 19-year-old German central defender Shkodran Mustafi.
The former Hamburg player is yet to make a Premier League appearance for the Toffees in two seasons, and Palermo are considering a bid to take him on a season-long loan deal with a final option to buy.