Sone Aluko

Sone Aluko is thriving on the pressure of inspiring Hull City’s push for promotion after coming of age in the Scottish Premier League.

Missing out on Nigeria's Cup of Nations squad in 2013 is more an indication of the competition for places up front for the Super Eagles.

The 23-year-old forward (dob 19-02-1989) made his return to English football when signing for the Tigers on a free transfer, four years after he left Birmingham City to begin an adventure north of the border.

Three seasons with Aberdeen and one with Old Firm giants Rangers provided the platform for Aluko to cut his teeth in senior football and earned him a reputation as a rising star of the SPL.

A debut campaign in the Championship is his current challenge and Aluko is confident his exploits of the last four years will stand him in good stead.

“There’s been a lot of ambition shown by the club this summer with the manager they’ve brought in and the new players, and that was the pull for me,” Aluko said.

“When you play for a team like Rangers you’re expected to win every game. Not just that, you’re expected to be winning after 10 minutes of every game.

“I enjoyed playing under that pressure of high expectations and it’ll be the same here.

“The owner wants to go up, the manager wants to go up and that’s what I’ll thrive on.”

Aluko’s switch back to England sees him reunited with Steve Bruce, the manager who handed him a first-team debut at Birmingham in 2007.

When Aluko burst on to the scene he was regarded as one of the hottest properties in English football, playing youth internationals alongside Theo Walcott, Andy Carroll and Daniel Sturridge before his eventual switch of allegiances to Nigeria.

He won his first cap against Republic of Ireland in an international friendly in London in 2009. He then dropped off the international radar after a disappointing outing at the U-20 World Cup in 2009
At Birmingham Aluko made only one appearance for the Blues, however, and he credits his time in Scotland as the catalyst for his career progress.

“I’ve grown up an awful lot in the last few years,” he explained.

“I left England at 18 to go to Aberdeen and that made me grow up pretty quickly.

“I was from a big city like Birmingham and then I was six hours drive away. That wasn’t easy, it took a bit of settling down.

“But I needed to play games at that stage of my career and I played in the UEFA Cup, and against the big clubs in the SPL.

“Then when you move to Rangers every game is a big game. The Old Firm games too were huge.

“My international career has really picked up since then as well so compared to when I was last in England, it’s been excellent for me.”

Aluko became a free agent following the demise of Rangers this summer, and has been in inspirational form. He wasn’t picked for the 2013 Cup of Nations but remains in the thoughts of the Big Boss.


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