Odemwingie defends form since Nigeria comeback

After being left in the cold by Stephen Keshi for a long time, the Stoke City player has been handed a lifeline and is desperate to impress in Brazil

By Lolade Adewuyi in Curitiba

Peter Odemwingie has defended his Nigeria performances since making his reutrn to the international stage.

The 32-year-old was a highly popular player for the Super Eagles until he lost his cool and took to trash-talking his national team coach on Twitter two years ago.
A spell in the wilderness has, however, softened Odemwingie, who will make his second appearance at the World Cup this summer, with a chance to prove himself on the biggest stage as Nigeria face Iran on Monday.

In recent friendly matches against the United States and Greece, the forward looked rusty and a little out of place in the team, losing the ball to opponents and struggling to link play, and the country won the Africa Cup of Nations during his spell out of the set-up.

Odemwingie, however, insists his form will improve over time.

"It was a comeback for me and things don’t just gel overnight," Odemwingie told Goal.

"There are a few new faces to play with but the most important thing is that I'm going to give my best in games that mean a lot for us.

"I'm joining a winning side, they've been doing well in the past two years, I hope that continues.

"There's less pressure on me because there are people here who can deliver for Nigeria so I'll just give the contribution that I can and do my best."

In the same shoes is captain Joseph Yobo, who fell out with the coach after the team won the Africa Cup of Nations title last year, in South Africa.

Out for more than a year, the skipper has returned to the side in time for the World Cup and has to contend with the duo of Godfrey Oboabona and Kenneth Omeruo for a starting place in defence in his chase for a record-setting 100th cap.

"We have to step it up," Yobo said. "We know the importance of starting well, it's not going to be easy against Iran, they are no pushovers.

"It's going to be a tough game on Monday but if we get the three points, then the confidence is going to grow."