By John Egbokhan
Newly signed Montpellier striker, John Utaka is poised to make an appearance in tomorrow’s French Ligue 1 match against Saint-Etienne, as he attempts to begin the road to rediscovery, after suffering from a protracted loss of form, which has shut him out of regular place in the Super Eagles
At Montpellier, Utaka is already being dubbed the offensive rookie. And the least we can say is that the Nigerianis far from being unknown to watchers of the French game This is not his first stint in France. He was once as at Lens, where he played 102 matches in three seasons.
He later moved to Rennes, where he played 63 matches. Indeed, the powerful striker, capable of evolving in line or side, actually caused troubles for defenders of Ligue 1 for 5 seasons, first in Lens, where he scored 24 goals, then in Rennes, where he netted 22 goals in two years.
These statistics are not complete without the string load of assists. He moved over to Portsmouth, where he churned out good performances. In three seasons in England, he played 65 games and scored seven goals in a club where the competition is fierce in attack, especially with Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe, two English stars and his fellow Nigerian Nwankwo Kanu.
In the UK, Utaka won the FA Cup final in 2008. Relegated to the Championship with his Pompey, early in the season, Utaka played 25 games and scored three goals since the start of the new season. It was from there that he moved to the French Ligue 1.
Listed on the shelves of several French club, the striker, who has scored six goals in 43 appearances for the Super Eagles, has chosen to join Montpellier to revive his career. This is a club, where he seems to have all the qualities to be the perfect complement to Olivier Giroud.
Utaka has signed a two and a half years with the French side and may be qualified to play in the league match against Saint-Etienne on February 5, wearing jersey