Belgian newspapers react to Everton midfielder Amadou Onana during Belgium v Canada
Everton midfielder Amadou Onana came off the bench to make an impactful cameo for Belgium during their 1-0 World Cup win over Canada.
Belgium started their World Cup campaign with an unconvincing win over Canada in Group F. Michy Batshuayi scored the only goal of the game to give Roberto Martinez’s side a vital three points.
Onana was named as a substitute but the former Toffees boss, although the 21-year-old midfielder was relied upon to help tighten the defence in the second half.
Onana made his presence known after the break, and Belgian media were wowed by Onana’s World Cup debut.
De Standaard said: “The Devils started to run better with Thomas Meunier and especially Amadou Onana in the team. The 21-year-old Everton midfielder brings more presence and power than 25-year-old Youri Tielemans. He is one of the new names that is gradually allowed to push aside the licenses of the golden generation.”
HLN handed out player ratings for the match and decided to give Onana a 7/10 for his contributions – “Had to provide more duelling power. Succeeded in that. Showed calm on the ball. Made a strong impression.”
Onana received another 7/10 rating from Nieuwsblad, who wrote: “Replaced Tielemans. Made an impression: what a power. Can Martinez still get around this boy?”
Onana has enjoyed a great start to the season with Everton and has already started to justify his big summer transfer fee. His form for the Toffees clearly impressed Martinez, who has made Onana a regular part of his Belgium side.
He’d have been disappointed to miss out on a starting spot, but after coming off the bench following a really poor first-half showing, Onana did enough to justify a start for Belgium in their next Group F match against Morocco on Sunday.
Youri Tielemans could be the player to lose his spot, and the Leicester City midfielder is no easy player to kick out of the squad.
It’s a credit to Onana’s quality and maturity that he’s able to push for a starting spot at the World Cup at such a young age, and it shows just how much of a special talent Everton have on their books.
Frank Lampard would have been watching on joyfully, and a strong World Cup run should give Onana plenty of confidence for when he returns to Goodison Park in December.