Nathan Tella confirmed that he is eligible to represent Nigeria – before revealing that he harboured ambitions of playing international football for the Super Eagles.
Nigerian reports from a few years back suggested that the Lambeth-born youngster was eligible to play for the Super Eagles via his Nigerian father, with the Nigerian FA also reportedly contacting the former Arsenal player about representing the African country.
Whilst Tella stated that he hadn’t had direct contact with Nigeria, he did reveal he was already far along the process of obtaining a Nigerian passport – a move that would enable him to be called-up in the future.
Tella told the Daily Echo: “Yeah, it’s true. I haven’t been contacted as such but I’m in the process of sorting out my passport for them.
Obviously, I would like to have the chance, if I’m called upon to be able to play for Nigeria.
“But at the moment where my head is just solely on playing for Southampton.”
The 22-year-old’s focus on Saints has paid off, with the winger earning a new contract this month.
When asked if playing international football would help improve his game even further, Tella responded: “I would love to play international football.
“That’s always been a dream of mine. If I went away with Nigeria, it would be something new and new experiences bring out the best in players.”
Che Adams is another Saint who switched international allegiances after representing England at youth level, with Tella noting how representing Scotland had impacted his teammate.
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“When I look at Che, I see that he has come back from Scotland as a more mature player. There is no reason why I can’t do that, come back a more mature person.
“Whatever happens in the future I am just focused on being here and, yes, trying to score goals and help the team win and progress.”
With Nigeria pulling off a narrow win over fellow African heavyweights Egypt in their first game at the African Cup of Nations, Tella revealed that he was supporting the Super Eagles from England – whilst also looking out for teammate Moussa Djenepo, who helped Mali to an opening win against Tunisia, despite huge
“I’m always keeping an eye on it – I’m Nigerian, so I always want to focus and watch the games,” continued Tella.
“Obviously, when I have any of my teammates out there, I really want to know how they do.
“I’m happy he won yesterday – despite the ending, but it was good that he was able to win, and I wish him all the best.”