Rohr impressed with Simeon Nwankwo's debut, admits 'problems with full-backs'

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The Crotone striker was handed his debut in Monday's stalemate against Florent Ibenge's side, and the Super Eagles is happy with his attributes

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr admitted he is 'satisfied' with Simeon Nwankwo's performance against DR Congo.

The Crotone forward was handed his international debut in Monday's pre-World Cup friendly that ended in a 1-1 draw.

And, according to the German tactician, the striker did his chances of making the final 23-man squad no harm.

Nwankwo had crashed an effort onto the crossbar early in the game, before forcing goalkeeper Anthony Mossi to a brilliant save after connecting to a long throw in the second half - in a game where he was quite a handful for the Leopards' defence.

“It was a very good match because we played against a very good team from Congo. They came with a great squad,” Rohr told reporters.

“The game was a good test for the players particularly those who we didn’t know very well. I’m satisfied with the performance of Simy. He is a natural centre-forward. He didn’t have a profile until we found him.”

Rohr decided against deploying captain John Obi Mikel and first-choice striker Odion Ighalo, and the gaffer has said keeping the China-based players - who were late arrivals - fresh is of high importance.

“We had to see some players who didn’t play so much. Two of them made the team and the pitch was not easy to play on. We didn’t want to take the risk of playing some players who arrived tired coming from China.

Nigeria conceded a late penalty after a rash decision from left-back Ola Aina saw the Congolese earn a share of the spoils, and Tyronne Ebuehi picked a knock with Shehu Abdullahi having to replace the new Benfica signing.

Rohr concedes his side still have 'some problems with our full-backs.'

“The young players played very well, we scored a wonderful goal. We could have scored more but in the end we conceded a penalty.”

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“We have some problems with our full-backs, but I think in few days, we will have a full complement of our team with Victor Moses, Ighalo and Mikel. I think the team will be better than what we saw against Congo when we play on Saturday [against England]. It was interesting to see everybody play.”

Nigeria face England at Wembley on Saturday, but before they jet out, five players are expected to be culled from the 30-man provisional squad.

 

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