Udinese of Italy defender, William Troost-Ekong is taking the bull by the horn in his position as Super Eagles’ stand-in captain for Tuesday’s international friendly against Ukraine, with a stern declaration that he and his teammates will make the match difficult for their hosts, megasportsarena.com reports.
Troost-Ekong admitted it will be a tough game against an in-form side, who will also be playing at home, but stressed that the Eagles aim to prove a point that they are also a squad to be reckoned with on the international terrain.
The ex-Tottenham Hotspur of England youth team player, who has also starred for Huagesund of Norway, Dordrecht of Holland, KAA Gent of Belgium and Bursaspor of Turkey, stressed that the Eagles aim to also show that the new set of players in the Nigerian squad have what it takes to make their country proud.
The Holland-born half-caste stopper posited that he and his colleagues are rearing to go, taking up every opportunity to play themselves into the core of Gernot Rohr’s next phase of Eagles’ tenure, starting when Italian referee, Paolo Valerie signals the start of play from 7:30pm at the 31,000 –capacity arena, with his compatriots Alessandro Costanzo and Stefano Alassio assisting, while Ukrainian Vitaliy Romanov will serve as fourth official.
Germany-based youthful goalkeeper, Emil Maduka Okoye is in camp to give Francis Odinaka Uzoho and Ikechukwu Ezenwa a stiff fight for the number one shirt, while usual suspects Olaoluwa Aina, Chidozie Awaziem, Leon Balogun, Jamilu Collins and William Ekong will try to ward off the challenge of Semi Ajayi (listed as defender) and returnee Bryan Idowu at the rear.
In the middle, Oghenekaro Etebo and Alex Iwobi should be ahead of returnee Anderson Esiti and debuting Joseph Aribo, but it remains to be seen how Kelechi Iheanacho will fit into the middle equation, as he has been known to line out in attack or down the wings as well.
The forward line is brimming with youth and vitality, with Victor Osimhen, Moses Simon, Samuel Chukwueze, Paul Onuachu and Samuel Kalu all available, alongside new invitees, Joshua Maja and Emmanuel Dennis, all of who Troost-Ekong says will give Ukraine a very good game.
Troost-Ekong submitted: “Ukraine is a strong team with a lot of very good players across Europe. I know a few of those in Italy where I play. This game is definitely going to be very tough but we will give our best and also make it very difficult for them. I believe it will be a very good game.”