5 min read
16th Dec 2021
It has been a week to celebrate for two of Wolves’ brightest young stars with Theo Corbeanu and Nigel Lonwijk, both currently away from the club on successful loan spells, picked up individual accolades.
Corbeanu, who is currently on loan at Sheffield Wednesday in League One, has been named as the 2021 Canada Soccer Youth Player of the Year, while Lonwijk became the youngest goalscorer in Eredivisie history for his loan club Fortuna Sittard – earning the defender a place in the Dutch top-flight’s ‘team of the week’.
Canadian winger Corbeanu has had a 2021 to remember, having led the Wolves under-23s goalscoring charts at the end of last season, he went on to earn a first Premier League appearance in gold and black against Tottenham Hotspur, before scoring moments into his senior international debut.
The 19-year-old made his first start for Canada in March, marking the occasion with a goal in his country’s 5-1 win over Bermuda, before scoring again in the summer as Canada overcame Martinique in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Corbeanu has since proved a hit at Hillsborough during the first-half of the League One campaign, having made the loan switch in the summer, featuring 16 times for Darren Moore’s Wednesday, scoring two goals and creating another two assists.
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) December 14, 2021
Matt Jackson, Wolves’ strategic player marketing manager, said: “We are delighted that Theo’s consistency for the under-23s throughout last season was rewarded with this international recognition from Canada.
“We were pleased that such a big club in Sheffield Wednesday would take him for the season, giving him his league debut and all those experiences he’s had at Hillsborough. It’s been an absolutely fantastic move for him.
“Although there’s been some difficulties for him in going up and settling into a new environment, it’s exactly what we want for our loan players. We want them to come under pressure, experience being left out and learn how to deal with that to build their character.
“All these things that make up a professional footballer experience, Theo has gone through them, and the award he’s picked up is really good recognition of the ability he has and the type of person that he is.”
Similarly to Corbeanu, who had to bide his time before getting his shot at League One football, Lonwijk moved back to his homeland to join Sittard on loan in the summer, and although he wasn’t a mainstay in the side as they aim to stave off relegation, the Dutch youth international has been a starter in Fortuna’s last three matches and had a game to remember this week.
On Saturday, Fortuna travelled to PEC Zwolle, who are also battling against the drop, and having started on the right of a back-three, Lonwijk went up for a set-piece on 63 minutes, with the defender able to capitalise on a spill from the opposition keeper to turn the ball home for his first professional goal.
The goal earned his side their first league win in eight, which lifted them up to 16th in the Eredivisie table, and just two points away from safety.
With that finish, Lonwijk became Fortuna’s youngest goalscorer in Dutch top-flight history, while he Lwas also named man of the match, and earned himself a place in the Eredivisie team of the week.
— Fortuna Sittard (@FortunaSittard) December 13, 2021
Jackson added: “It’s very rare for young defenders to play in top leagues, so whatever experience Nigel was going to pick up out in the Netherlands was going to be brilliant.
“Sometimes being in the heart of a relegation battle is not a fun place to be in a club, but it’s a fantastic learning experience, and that’s what we ask for our loan players.
“The fixtures he’s played in have been as tough as any of our players are going to face this season. He’s played a couple of games against PSV, he’s played against Feyenoord and he’s got a game against Ajax coming up. He’s had a really tough run of fixtures, but he’s imposed himself really well.
“He’s had to deal with the team losing a lot of games, but then he’s had the highlights of scoring a winning goal, which is not necessarily what we’ve been teaching him to do, but stabbing one in from a yard out to become the youngest goalscorer in the Eredivisie for Fortuna Sittard is something he can be rightly proud of.”