“For me, all that stuff is kinda extra noise,” Dike said Wednesday morning. “Obviously for me I’ve been blessed to go on the experience at Barnsley and play with the national team as well. I’ve had lot of experiences and I kind of told myself from the beginning I want to bring back everything that I’ve learned about the new culture, learned about the new style of play and come back here and kind of see how I’ve grown as a player.
"In terms of all the extra things happening, that’s just something when the time comes. For me right now, it’s focusing on acclimating back to the team and seeing how I can be able to affect the games in the next couple of weeks.”
Dike enjoyed a meteoric rise at Barnsley, scoring nine goals in 19 appearances, helping lead the Tykes to the brink of Premier League promotion. That’s fueled rumors of the 21-year-old’s future. Barnsley declined the purchase option at the end of his four-month loan, but there are reportedly plenty of other suitors in England and abroad.
“For me, I’ve always said I want to play in the top competitions, play against the top competition and play under the greatest staff,” Dike said. “Thus far, I’ve been blessed with being able to see guys like Nani, [who has] won tons of competitions. For me, I want to be able compete at high levels, whether it be at World Cups and playing in all these top competitions in the world. For me, I just want to continue to grow as a player and be able to do those things.”
Dike returned stateside and struck his first goal for the USMNT in a 4-1 win over Costa Rica last week. He’s now back in Orlando with his focus squarely on leading the Lions to new heights.
“This squad has already proved that they can compete at the top level,” Dike said, when as asked about a potential MLS Cup run. “For me, I obviously just want to be involved, I want to help the team out as much as possible. It’s for sure something that can be happen.”
Orlando, potentially with Dike involved, return to action against Toronto FC on Saturday (7:30 pm ET | ESPN+).