When the wee fella fulfilled his media duties at the Scotland squad hotel in Renfrewshire yesterday it amounted to an extended introduction. He has not been called-up at international level before, let alone capped, and the first thing to clarify was the grounds of his eligibility. His father, Chinasa, is Nigerian and his mother, Mariana, is Romanian but Anya himself is Scottish through and through: born and raised here before his family moved away when he was seven.
He told his story with engaging warmth and charm yesterday, radiating pleasure at reaching international football in a career which at times had threatened to spit him out altogether. Injuries led to him shuttling around Wycombe Wanderers, Halesowen Town, Northampton Town and - via Glenn Hoddle's Spanish football academy for unattached players - Sevilla and Celtica Vigo reserves. It was there that he was picked up by Grenada and Cadiz, on loan, before joining current club Watford.
"I'm definitely different. If you talk to my team-mates they'll all say that," he said. "Good different, though! I think it's bad if everyone is the same. It's good to have a little bit of variety with a different outlook on life compared to the cliched footballer. I came out of the game for a while. I had tendonitis in my right knee so I had to stop for a bit. That has given me an appreciation of how fortunate we are as footballers."
His parents moved to Scotland when his dad got a job at Strathclyde University, where he stayed for seven years before landing another position at Oxford University. The assumption was that Ikechi would go into some sort of academic work too, but football took over. "My dad would probably have preferred me to go down that route but fortunately for me football worked out okay," he said. "My dad is a scientist and my mum is an economist. My brother is also a doctor.
"My dad obviously wanted the best for his kids and I remember every day after school he made us study for extra hours. But by the time I was year eight or nine the time I was spending with the books was getting lower and lower because I was into playing football. Eventually I just stopped doing it completely. He wanted me to be like my brother, maybe become a doctor or something like that. But I'm not as clever as my brother: he's a qualified GP and a hip-hop artist in his spare time."
Ikechi was eligible for Nigeria, Romania, Scotland and England, and did not imagine ever being good enough to play for any of them.
He wasn't enthusiastic about playing for Nigeria when some interest was shown at one point. If anyone asked who he would wish to represent, he laughed. "I never really took it seriously because I was playing lower league football. But since getting into the Watford team last year - and maintaining my place - people started talking about it more. I knew the SFA knew about me. John Gorman [the Scot who was his manager at Wycombe] had been texting me, urging me to keep playing well because I might get into the Scotland set-up.
"I don't remember much about living in Scotland. I played for the school team before my dad got a job and we moved down south. But one game sticks in my mind. We won a game and afterwards a friend and I were confronted by a big bully who cracked our heads together. I don't know why he did that but we won the game so it was all right.
"I was only seven but it was a hard neighbourhood in Castlemilk. Well, that's what I was told. Being seven you don't really know any different. Don't get me wrong, it was okay. We played football on the streets and it was fine. I wonder what that bully will think if he sees me playing for Scotland? Maybe I should call him up.
"When Scotland played England I was always the one out on the street saying 'come on Scotland'. I always felt attached to Scotland. I know I've lost my accent but people say I speak with an American accent now. Trust me, when I first arrived in England people used to say they couldn't understand me! My parents had fond memories of Scotland. We only left because of work."
A couple of weeks ago Gianfranco Zola, the Watford manager, pulled him aside and told him Gordon Strachan wanted to call him up. Zola knew because he had met Strachan when the national team used Watford's facilities before playing England at Wembley. Strachan had been aware of Anya's talent and eligibility for some time and even considered picking him against England, but decided not to do so in order to show some loyalty to the group of players who had delivered victory in Croatia. "I was fine with that," said Anya. "I remember the next day I was walking through London and I saw loads of Scotland fans. Imagine if I had been playing and then walking through the middle of them? It would have been crazy. None of them spotted me or knew who I was."
He is a little wing-back or winger. He is quick and he has worked to improve his end product. All of that sounds pretty routine, but Scotland has never had a player with a story quite like Anya's.