- Nigerian striker Taiwo Awoniyi signed for Liverpool F.C. for a fee of around £400,000 in 2015
- He was part of the Nigerian Under 17 side that won the 2013 FIFA World Cup
- Awoniyi did not play for any Professional Football League side in Nigeria before moving to Europe
The dreams of Nigerian and Liverpool FC youngster Taiwo Awoniyi was for him to play at the highest level of his career, but he never knew that making it to the top would be hard for him.
Born on August 12, 1997 in Ilorin, Kwara state, Awoniyi attended Adetunji primary school before proceeding to the Government Day where he completed his secondary school education.
Prior to the completion of his SSCE, he played for United Football Academy from where he advanced to the Imperial Soccer Academy owned by ex Super Eagles star Seyi Olofinjana.
His name finally came to limelight in the year 2013 when he represented the Nigerian under 17 national side known as the Golden Eaglets and helped the team to win the World Cup title in the United Arab Emirates under the tutelage of coach Manu Garba.
Awoniyi superb display at the cadet tournaments earned him a deserved elevation to the Nigerian Under 20 squad where he inspired the team to win the 2015 African Youth Championship held in Senegal.
The lanky player was also part of the Flying Eagles set-up that narrowly crashed out in the second round of the 2015 FIFA Under 20 World Cup held in New Zealand.
His impressive contributions to the age-grade teams did not go unnoticed as the Dream Team VI gaffer Samson Siasia rewarded him with an invitation to the Under 23 side.
He was an important member of the Under 23 team that qualified for Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and the subsequent success of Siasia's side at the 2015 CAF Under 23 Nations Cup which took place in Senegal.
NAIJ.com caught up with the lanky striker in Ilorin on Saturday, June 24, 2017 and he explained how he used to work as a labourer before making it to the top of his career.
''It was very difficult for me when I was growing up as a kid as football was all I wanted to play, and I thank God for my current status.
''I also want to thank my parents who stood by me despite all the challenges I went through as I would have to trek from home to the stadium.
"The issue of getting money to buy jerseys and boots was also a big problem for me then as I had to work as a laborer at sites and bakery before I could afford to buy kits.
''My father wanted me to go to school and be successful in life, but I was determined to make my dreams come true in football.
"I could remember that I used the money my father gave me to purchase a JAMB form to travel to Imperial Football Academy, and that was the turning point of my life.
''I was in cloud nine when I signed the dotted lines at Liverpool FC, and I had to ask my father and Seyi Olofinjana whether I was in dreamland because the move came as a big surprise for me considering what I have gone through,'' he explained.
Following his move to Liverpool FC, the Reds have loaned the tireless forward to FSV Frankfurt of Germany and Dutch Eredivisie outfit NAC Breda respectively.
Watch NAIJ.com video of the Super Eagles below