Bursaspor of Turkey defender, William Troost-Ekong has raised the ante of expectations ahead of the Super Eagles’ international friendly against Argentina on Tuesday, as he says he is not scared of playing any team that comes his way as an opponent.
While also boasting that he and his Eagles’ colleagues would be able to handle any opposition during next year’s World Cup, the vastly-improved stopper, who is on loan from A Gent of Belgium, said playing against Argentina would accord the Nigerian squad a huge opportunity to show the stuff they are made of.
With that in view, Troost-Ekong declared that Argentina need to give Nigeria same level of respect the Eagles are according them, but says that is not to suggest that he is scared of The Argies.
Though he admits the Argentines are favourites to carry the day, Troost-Ekong insists the Eagles deserve as much respect as the South Americans, who he confessed he is already excited to confront next week in Krasnodar, Russia.
Looking beyond Tuesday’s friendly, Troost-Ekong further said he is not scared of a potential clash with some heavyweight teams, like Brazil and Germany, when Nigeria know their 2018 FIFA World Cup foes on December 1 during the draw in Zurich, Switzerland.
Rather than feel cowed heading into his maiden outing at the Mundial, the 24-year-old former Dutch youth international and member of Nigeria’s bronze-winning under-23 team at the Rio 2016 Olympics in Brazil fired warning to any team that comes the Eagles’ way.
Troost-Ekong says he is happy that he opted to represent Nigeria at senior level in 2015, as the ex-Tottenham Hotspur of England youth team player has waxed stronger with 15 caps and has been shortlisted for the African Player of the Year award.
He said: “I am not scared to play against any team. But, of course, we hope for a favourable draw. We have to believe in ourselves just like we did in the qualifying campaign.
“Many doubted us winning a group with Cameroon and Algeria, and look where that got us! 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.
“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 comfortable playing next to anyone now.”