Born in Glasgow to a Nigerian father and a Romanian mother, the 25-year-old has enjoyed something of a wandering playing career, spending time at a number of clubs in England and Spain, while also bettering himself during with a spell at the Glenn Hoddle football academy.
Now settled at Watford, Anya's steady form earned him a call-up for Scotland's World Cup double-header and he emerged from the bench midway through the second half against Belgium to make his maiden international appearance. On a difficult night, Anya's willing running and enthusiasm were a rare positive in dark blue. He hopes more caps will now follow. "It was definitely a bonus for me [to get on]," he said. "We've got 27 players, so there were four in the stand. When I found out I was on the bench I was very happy.
"After half-time the manager told me to stay warm and then after 60 minutes he decided to put me on. It was an unbelievable experience for me. I really want to establish myself. That's my big aim now. But it's down to the gaffer. Just being here is massive for me. If the gaffer feels I can add to the team then I'm more than happy to do my bit. I just want to work hard and hopefully get more chances."
Among the pats on the back came some constructive criticism from manager Gordon Strachan. "There were a few things the gaffer wasn't happy about due to my wing-back role at Watford and the fact I was playing more midfield. It was difficult for me to adapt to the international system.
"So I need to improve on that. But I'm more than willing to try and improve to get more minutes on the park for Scotland. I think that's one of my attributes, I'm a hard worker and I'll listen to whatever the manager says and try to implement it in training and matches. Slowly, I think I can adapt to the system."
Anya left Scotland when he was seven years old but still had representatives from his Castlemilk upbringing in the stand at Hampden in the form of his godparents, while his mother Marianne made the long drive from her home in the south of England to watch him earn his first cap, against her son's wishes. "My mum was there although I didn't want her to come. She's elderly and I didn't want her driving all the way up. It was eight hours. We had big arguments about it. I didn't want her on the roads. But with my godparents being at the game she decided to make a weekend of it. I thought she was going to get flights. I was happy with that and that's why I got her the comps [tickets]. It was a bit of a family issue, but the bottom line is she was happy for me."