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Everton’s biggest signing of the summer, Amadou Onana is not a player who lacks confidence and, although he is yet to get off the mark some 15 games into his Blues’ career, he still thinks about finding the net against his Goodison Park team-mate Jordan Pickford in the World Cup final.
Asked about the prospect of going head-to-head against Everton’s goalkeeper and England number one – himself no shrinking violet – for the trophy a week before Christmas Day, Onana smiles and replies: “Why not? I’ll score against him! I’m joking, but why not?”
Given that Onana didn’t turn 21 until a week after he joined Everton from Lille in a £33.5million transfer, the Belgium international has come a long way in a relatively short space of time. Let go by Zulte Waregem in his homeland when he was just 16, something he admits was “quite tough” to hear and a decision that prompted him to think “just work your a*** off”, he only made his international debut against Low Countries rivals the Netherlands on June 3 this year and, despite having just two caps to date, is part of former Blues boss Roberto Martinez’s squad the kick-off their tournament in Qatar against Canada on Wednesday (7pm) before subsequent group matches against Morocco on Sunday (1pm) and Croatia the following Thursday (3pm).
Seen as dark horses for the trophy by many in both 2014 and 2018, Belgium are a bit further back in the reckoning this time around as a 20/1 shot with eight other teams with shorter odds. But Onana – as you’d probably expect – is optimistic. He said: “We have very experienced players, I’m talking about Kevin de Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois, Romelu Lukaku and others.
“I think we have a great mix. Talking about pressure – I don’t feel no pressure.
“We have a great team. Of course we have to take it in a very serious way and not just think, ‘we are Belgium and we’re going to make it anyway’, but I am quite confident.”
The prospect of going on and actually winning the trophy elicits a similar response to the Pickford question.
Onana said: “Why not? That is the ambition we have.”