LONDON: Luke O’Nien plays for Wycombe Wanderers in League Two, the fourth tier of English football, which is three levels below the English Premier League (EPL).
But his midfield performances at Wycombe over the last two seasons have been catching the eye of bigger clubs. And the 22-year-old is in no doubt that playing in the EPL is his ultimate ambition in club football.
“I want to get to the Premier League one day,” he said. “If anyone says they don’t want to play in the Premier League they’d be kidding themselves. So every day I work as hard as I can, and that’s my goal.”
But O’Nien has another ambition: to play international football. And he could do that for Singapore. He qualifies via his maternal grandfather and if the call-up came from the Lions, he says he would be keen to have that conversation.
“I think it’s anyone’s honour to play for a national team, and it would be for me. It would be an honour,” he said.
His connections to Singapore are strong. O’Nien speaks with pride about the record of his grand uncle Lim Kim San - his mother's uncle - a former cabinet minister who is credited with helping to solve Singapore’s housing issues in the 1960s.
Lim Kim San's younger brother Lim Cheng Siong married an Englishwoman and their daughter Monica Lim is O'Nien's mother.
Back in England, this season O’Nien is focused on delivering a League Two play-off spot for Wycombe, which would open up the opportunity of a Wembley final and possible promotion to League One.
At this point full disclosure seems appropriate: I’m a Wycombe Wanderers supporter myself. Perhaps that makes me the tiniest bit biased. But it also means I’ve watched Luke O’Nien in action many times.
Take my word for it: this guy can play.
In the video below, O'Nien shows off his juggling skills with a rubber cricket ball, a hackey sack and an apple.