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Comment: Daniel Udoh continues to show how far he’s come with Shrewsbury

When Daniel Udoh arrived at Shrewsbury Town back in 2019 few would have predicted he would go on to have such a big impact.

Dan Udoh of Shrewsbury Town celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 0-1. (AMA)
Dan Udoh of Shrewsbury Town celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 0-1. (AMA)

The jump from neighbours AFC Telford United in National League North to League One is something of a gulf and it’s a difficult leap for a lot of players to make.

Many others wouldn’t have believed they could cut it three leagues above – but I’m sure Udoh himself did and he was right to believe it.

Just four league goals in each of his first two seasons is hardly sparkling form in front of goal – and even though Udoh brings an awful lot of other attributes, such as work-rate, desire and hold-up play, as a centre forward you are very much judged on goals.

Steve Cotterill even said it himself recently, while heaping praise on Udoh, he insisted that last year if he wasn’t a great lad, he might have got rid of him from the club.

But he didn’t, he was right not to and Udoh is repaying his manager’s faith now as he’s started to hit the goal trail.

And on Sunday we saw a measure of just how far Udoh has come.

Six-and-a-half years after he was penning a one year deal at non-league Ilkeston, the Nigerian silenced Anfield with an FA Cup goal that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the Premier League.

And it was nothing more than the forward deserved.

The change in Udoh from when he arrived at the club to now really has to be applauded, and from seeing the player during his Telford days, it’s not difficult to understand why. His work-rate is phenomenal – even when Salop had a dreadful start to the season or when they having a tough time of it under Sam Ricketts, the former Crewe man was always leading from the front.

And now he’s getting his just rewards. Some of the goals he has scored this season show how much his stock is rising. Against Cheltenham last month he was presented with a great chance and it was one that he might have snatched at last season. But he buried it with the aplomb and confidence of a Premier League centre forward. That’s confidence, dedication and hard work all there on show.

Now suddenly, from being a side that couldn’t buy a goal Shrewsbury have firing strikers.

The challenge now for Udoh is keeping up this run and firing Shrewsbury up the table – while also continuing to improve on a personal front and if he does that the 25-year-old really does have the potential to become Salop’s main striker over the coming years.

Is that a bold statement? I don’t think so at all. Udoh is 25, not even in his prime, and he is starting to show all the signs of a very good League One striker.

I’m sure clubs above Shrewsbury have already been having a little look at the forward, and after his Anfield exploits a few more will have sat up and taken notice.

With Udoh, you’ve got a settled striker, hitting form, improving, and above all, he’s loved by the supporters. His chant from the terraces is arguably the best toe tapping chant in English football, and maybe even beyond.

He’s loved at Salop, he’s improving, and if he isn’t prised away from Montgomery Waters Meadow, he really could be Dan the Man for years to come.

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