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Playing for the Super Eagles has changed my life, says William Troost-Ekong

3:07 PM GMT+4 09/11/2017
William Troost-Ekong
The defender has admitted that the Super Eagles has had a positive effect on his life since teaming up with the team in 2015

William Troost-Ekong has acknowledged that playing for the senior national team of Nigeria has been a ‘life-changing’ experience for him.

The defender made his international debut for the three times African Champions in 2015 and has not looked back since then, featuring in all the five games as Gernot Rohr’s men secured their sixth appearance in the World Cup in Russia next year after gathering 13 points from five encounters.

And the 24-year-old is excited to have qualified for the global showpiece with Nigeria while charging his teammates to aim for victory for their dead-rubber qualifiers against Algeria on Friday and use the game to improve as a team.

“It is a big achievement for Nigeria and for me to qualify for the World Cup,” Troost-Ekong told NFF website.

“It has encouraged me to continue to step up my game in preparation for the World Cup, and of course, at the tournament itself.

“We should aim to finish our World Cup qualifying campaign unbeaten and again use this as a game to improve as a team.

“I am excited to be competing against the very best in the world and probably my generation is something to look forward to. But that level of respect is where the Super Eagles should be too, so this is a chance for us to test ourselves.

“The experience garnered playing for the Super Eagles has been life-changing for me. Facing some of the best forwards in Africa, whilst having to perform and deliver for such a football-loving nation like Nigeria is a pressure that improves you as a player.

The former Tottenham Hotspur player has forged a good partnership with Mainz 05 defender, Leon Balogun but he is upbeat he can pair anyone in the heat of the defence.

“I enjoy being with the team, and working with quality players. Playing alongside someone like Leon Balogun with his quality has definitely helped, but I would feel just as comfortable playing next to anyone now."

Troost-Ekong who played for the Olympic Bronze medal-winning team in Brazil in 2016 also declared that he is focused on performing well for his club, Bursaspor, and the friendlies ahead of the World Cup in order to be fit and ready for the competition while setting the knock-out stage as a target for the Super Eagles.

“Yeah, that was an unforgettable experience (Rio 2016). I am very happy with our ticket for the FIFA World Cup but now I am focused on performing for Bursaspor in the next 7 months, together with the Super Eagles’ friendlies in order to be fit and ready next summer," he continued.

“I want to be on that plane to Russia and make Nigeria proud again like we did in Brazil last year.

“I think we have a very hungry and exciting squad now and realistically, we should be aiming for the knockout stages and just take it game by game.”