William Trost-Ekong has revealed that former Nigeria manager Sunday Oliseh’s criticism helped him improve.
The Bursaspor defender has been a consistent performer at the heart of the Super Eagles defence since he made his debut for the side in 2015, forging a production partnership with German-born Leon Balogun.
On Monday, against DR Congo, in a pre-World Cup friendly, the former Gent player scored his first international goal, though the three-time African champions ended up sharing the spoils with their visitors.
And the 24-year-old has credited former national team coach, Oliseh’s challenge for his development.
“My partner at centre-back [new Brighton signing Leon Balogun] is half-German, half-Nigerian, so he is the same as me,” Troost-Ekong told Telegraph.
“After a game, he [Oliseh] said we were too soft to play against African players. That upset me, because one of my traits as a player is that I am someone who does not back away from anyone. I am not the most skilful, but I know what I am good at.
“I think that’s part of being from different countries, different cultures. It’s not nice when people try to use that against you.
“I identify myself as being Nigerian as well, and I feel at home in the team. Not once have I ever looked around and thought ‘this is not for me’.
“But it spurred me on. I have played against African strikers since then and no one has bullied me. I have proven my point.”
Troost-Ekong who started his career with Tottenham Hotspur academy is part of Gernot Rohr’s setup for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. [Goal]