Name: Victor Wanyama
Date of Birth: 25/6/1991
Former Clubs: Beerschot AC, Celtic
League Appearances (Goals): 154 (15)
International Appearances (Goals): 31 (1)
Stat of the Day: Victor Wanyama was the first Kenyan to score a goal in the Premier League
Player Profile: It is often a case of you don`t know what you`ve got until it is gone with the modern day, coveted ‘defensive midfielder`; Chelsea lost their first game of the season in which Nemanja Matic was absent from the line-up, Arsenal have put in their best performances of the season since the arrival of Francis Coquelin at the base of midfield and Southampton succumbed to two rare defeats when they lost Victor Wanyama to a recent hamstring injury. The Kenyan, often far down the list of plaudits for the Southampton side of this season, has provided defensive power and skill to Ronald Koeman`s side that has allowed the likes of Graziano Pelle and Dusan Tadic to steal the headlines. His place back in the starting eleven will be a welcome return for Southampton on Saturday.
Wanyama arrived at Celtic as an unknown commodity, but his time in Scotland and now England has seen the 23-year-old develop from a player plucked from obscurity to a highly-regarded central midfielder, whose strength, commitment and intelligence has seen top European clubs sniffing around the Kenyan in recent months. Still partial to the odd reckless tackle and mistimed pass, Wanyama has often at times overpowered Premier League midfields wish consummate ease this season and has formed the spine of this Saints side that seems to be closing in on the sought-after Champions League places.
Victor Wanyama was born in Nairobi, the capital of his native Kenya. During his teens Wanyama spent time with clubs JMJ Youth Academy, Nairobi City Stars and AFC Leopards before a short spell with Helsingborgs IF in Sweden.
He eventually settled in Belgium, signing a four-year-deal with then Belgian Pro side Germinal Beerschot. He made his first team debut at the age of 17 playing in a goalless draw with KV Kortrijk in 2008 and while that was his only taste of first team action in 2008/2009, the midfielder came to the fore during the 2009/2010 campaign.
Impressive displays saw Beerschot resist overtures from Celtic and CSKA Moscow in 2010 and the club were rewarded as the Kenyan made 34 excellent appearances to help his side to a mid-table finish the following season. Celtic rekindled their interest at the end of the 2010/2011 season and this time they got their man as the midfielder completed a £900,000 move to Glasgow in 2011.
He made his Celtic debut four games into the Scottish Premier League season, playing in a surprise 1-0 home defeat at the hands of St Johnstone. He ended the season with an SPL winner`s medal as Celtic pipped Rangers to the title. In 2011/12 Wanyama played for his new club 42 times – five of which were in the UEFA Europa League – finishing with four league goals under his belt.
The midfielder played for Celtic 49 times in 2012/13, scoring nine goals. The most memorable of those strikes came in a UEFA Champions League game against Barcelona as he netted the opener in a famous 2-1 win at Parkhead. The Kenyan ended the campaign as the 2013 Clydesdale Bank Young Player of the Year and with a reputation as one of the most exciting young midfielders in Britain. He left Glasgow having played for the Hoops 91 times and with 13 goals to his name.
He made a £12.5 million move to Southampton in 2013, making him the first Kenyan to play in the Premier League.
One to Watch – Victor Wanyama
Name: Victor Wanyama