Nigeria kicked off their World Cup campaign in Russia on a disappointing note on Saturday, losing 2-0 to Croatia in their opening clash in Group D.
The West Africans failed to create clear goalscoring chances against their European counterparts, and were undone by an own goal and a penalty which captain Luka Modric calmly converted.
The midfield powerhouse covered himself in glory by covering every blade of grass, completing more passes, more dribbles and making more touches than any of his teammates.
Etebo's tenacious and tireless marking, movement and passing stood him out of the crowd, and given that he would have impressed every scout watching the game, Stoke City can only be glad to have secured his signature before the World Cup.
The Potters are looking to bounce back immediately from their relegation to the Championship, and if they continue to make quality additions like Etebo's over the summer transfer window, the Britannia Stadium should be hosting Premier League games come 2019-2020.
Manager Gary Rowett's first signing arrived for £6.35million from Portuguese topflight side Feirense on a five-year-deal last week, and no doubt brings a lot to the table for Stoke.
Etebo spent the latter half of last season on loan at relegated La Liga side Las Palmas, featuring in 14 games and putting in energetic performances that caught the eyes.
The 13-time international cap Olympic Bronze medalist is an excellent dribbler and ball interceptor, and his versatility will surely come handy for Stoke in the Championship.
Apart from his ability to dominate in deep midfield, Etebo is also capable of playing a central midfield role, on the left flank as a winger and as a number 9.
He is expected to feature in Nigeria's next two group World Cup games against Iceland and Argentina, and is bound to put in more eye-catching performances at the tournament.
Completing a deal for Etebo before the tournament is surely one of Stoke City's smartest moves this summer, and these Twitter reactions to his performance against Croatia say it all.
Best Nigerian player on the pitch by a margin.— THE Daniel Beckley. (@omnisavage) June 16, 2018
I tried to tell you guys about him.
He won't remember the game fondly (defeat and own goal to his name), but we saw something special in Nigeria's Oghenekaro Etebo (22). Great engine and a sharp passer. Just signed for Stoke City after a stint at Las Palmas. Keep an eye on him. #CRONIG #etebo #NGA #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/VLUhHxZjlr— World Football Scout (@_FootballScouts) June 16, 2018
This will be debatable, but Oghenekaro Etebo was best rated player in #CRO- #NGA match despite an own goal in 1st half. He had 2 key passes, 92.6% pass completion, whooping 18/22 duels won and suffered 8 fouls pic.twitter.com/ZdFrZyxRJ7— SofaScore (@SofaScore) June 16, 2018
OGHENEKARO ETEBO....BALLER!!— James Godwin™ (@GoddyJames) June 16, 2018
Strong, can dribble with accurate passing range as well.
Maybe, just maybe he would have waited after the #WorldCup
before making that move to #StokeCity #CRONGA #SoarSuperEagles @NGSuperEagles
Despite parading experienced midfielders like Modric & Rakitic I have to say the inclusion of Oghenekaro Etebo in defensive midfield is making both of them look ordinary. #CroatiaVSNigeria #SoarSuperEagles #Russia2018— Oluwaseun Ajidagba (@seunajidagba) June 16, 2018
Etebo there, just taking the piss out of the Croatian midfield pic.twitter.com/bvgEyyScs9— James Whittaker (@northstokie) June 16, 2018
Etebo playing with so much confidence mehn, regardless . #CRONGA— The Human Catalyst (@ERNALzz) June 16, 2018
Have something to tell us about this article?