Yakubu obligingly signs autographs as he arrives at Meadow Park to play for Boreham Wood against Reading
Jaap Stam might have expected to be the headline act when Reading kick off their pre-season campaign on Saturday. After all, it isn't every day a former Champions League winner with Manchester United takes charge of a Championship club for the first time.
But when Stam's new team take the field at Boreham Wood's tidy Meadow Park ground all eyes will be on a figure in the home team's attack. A figure familiar to Reading fans, to boot. Yakubu Aiyegbini, scorer of 21 goals in 57 international appearances for Nigeria, will be back playing on English soil for the first time since his release by the Berkshire club in May 2015.
|Yakubu celebrates scoring on his Everton debut in 2007 to herald the start of his finest season in England|
|Yakubu was a popular figure on Merseyside but his career stalled when he suffered a serious achilles injury|
A post from Boreham Wood's official twitter account announced the striker, who last season played 12 times, without scoring, for Turkish Super Lig side Kayserispor, would feature for the National League outfit in their friendly meeting with the Royals. Boreham Wood retained their National League status on the final day of last season, a 3-0 victory away at relegated Welling ensuring the Hertfordshire club didn't suffer the drop just one year after being promoted from the Conference South (now the National League South).
|Yakubu won 57 caps for Nigeria, scoring 21 goals, but he will turn out for National League team Boreham Wood|
While the non-Leaguers are preparing to open their new campaign with a home fixture against Forest Green Rovers on August 6, Dutchman Stam will be operating in a higher sphere.
Part of the United team that won a thrilling 1999 Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich, and three-times a Premier League winner at Old Trafford, the former defender will be expected to challenge for promotion into the Premier League in what is his first managerial post.
The 33-year-old perhaps reached his peak during his first season with Everton, following an £11.25 million move from Middlesbrough in August 2007. Yakubu hit 21 goals in all competitions as the Merseysiders finished fifth in the Premier League and enjoyed lengthy runs in both the UEFA Cup and League Cup.
- Daily Mail