Wycombe boss Ainsworth would have loved Luton's first summer signing Onyedinma to have stayed with the Chairboys
Wanderers chief pays tribute to former Millwall midfielder's efforts during his time at Adams Park
Wycombe Wanderers boss Gareth Ainsworth admitted he would have ‘loved’ to have kept hold of attacker Fred Onyedinma following his move to the Hatters last week.
After coming through the ranks at Millwall, it was a loan spell at Wycombe as an 18-year-old in the 2014-15 season that saw Onyedinma really show his talents, scoring eight times in 27 games.
He then went back to the Lions for the next three campaigns, before a return to Adams Park in August 2018, playing a further 24 matches, with three goals.
Onyedinma eventually made the move to Wycombe permanent in the summer of 2019, as Wanderers reached the Championship, although were unable to stay up last term.
That saw the midfielder call time on his Chairboys career after playing more than 100 times for Ainsworth’s side to become Luton’s first addition of the close season last week when he was snapped up by Nathan Jones for an undisclosed fee.
Speaking to the Wanderers official website about his departure, Ainsworth said: “I've had calls from people saying well done with Fred to turn him into this Championship player, but it wasn't us, it was Fred himself.
“He really flourished, maybe a little bit later than some people, but he needs an opportunity and needs a bit of belief to prove what he can do.
“He was behind some good players at Millwall and I remember him coming through here as a 17-18-year-old
"At this club we always know that players do move on and it was tough, but the modern day contracts dictates sometimes what happens.
“Fred’s moved to Luton, believe me I'd have loved to have kept him, but that’s football.
“It was a Championship club coming in for him, the move was right for Fred and I think that all we can do is say ‘thank you so much Fred.’
“He’s been absolutely brilliant for us, he really has.
“We’ve had some moments, I had to have some stern words with him, but we've always had a smile and a hug at the end of our conversations and we wouldn't be in the Championship if it wasn't for your Onyedinma’s without a shadow of a doubt.
“He was brilliant and has been in that new left wing-back role we played him in at the end of the season, a very attacking left wing-back.
“It really paid dividends and I can't wait to see him keep progressing in his career.
"I'll always be proud that Wycombe played a part, so we’ve got to have pride for these boys moving on and moving up the football ladder.”