Sunderland striker to come out of the international wilderness

Victor Anichebe: in great form, along with Jermain Defoe. Picture by FRANK REID
Victor Anichebe: in great form, along with Jermain Defoe. Picture by FRANK REID
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An in-form Sunderland striker is poised to come out of the international wilderness ... and it's NOT Jermain Defoe!

Victor Anichebe is being lined up for a return to the Nigeria squad after an absence of five years following his sensational run of form for the Black Cats.

The 28-year-old, whose last international appearance came in 2011, is set to be named by Super Eagles technical director Gernot Rohr for the friendlies with Ivory Coast and Senegal.

Sunderland fans though need not worry about Anichebe being taken away from the Premier League survival battle for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations, Nigeria failed to qualify for the tournament in Gabon for the second year in a row.

Nigeria are in top form though and lead Group B of the 2018 World Cup qualifying group with maximum points from two games after defeating Zambia and Algeria.

Rohr is happy with the team's current form, but with Russia just 18 months from now, he is looking to strengthen his pool of players and his list includes Anichebe.

A former England youth international, Anichebe switched allegiance and played his first game for Nigeria in 2008.

He scored on his debut in a 2-0 win over South Africa to help the Super Eagles reach the 2008 Olympics and was then part of the squad that went on to win silver in Beijing.

But during his time at Everton he put his international career on hold in 2013 in order to "manage his body accordingly" and has not represented his country since.

That could be about to change as Big Vic has been exceptional for Sunderland since his first Premier start for the club in the 2-1 win at Bournemouth.

He then inspired David Moyes's team to back-to-back home wins over Hull City and champions Leicester, as well as putting in a tremendous shift at Liverpool.

Anichebe has also provided great support for Defoe, who has also netted three times in the last four matches.

Defoe too has been linked with an international return - he is the top English scorer in the top flight with eight goals and is a man on the top of his game.