From his early days playing in Tottenham academy to featuring for the Super Eagles and displaying impressive performances for parent club, Gent, and FK Haugesund where he is captain at 22, Troost- Ekong has got football fans talking as much as the female fans gushing. Cool, calm and articulated, Troost-Ekong lays it all bare in this exclusive interview with LIB.
Read the interview after the cut…
LIB: What was growing up like for you William? Tell us more about your family.
WTE : I grew up in the Netherlands just outside Amsterdam, but regularly visited my family at our home in Ikeja, Lagos.
I am the middle child with a Junior brother who is 19 and a older sister who is 25.
LIB: Do you have any other family members that are into football and how did your parents initially react to your decision to play football professionally.
WTE: No I was the first one. Having always done well at school, signing for Tottenham Hotspur full time at the age of 16 was a hard decision. Looking back at it I’m confident I made the right choice. As my parents encouraged me to carry on with academia, I didn’t give that up completely.
LIB: Why did you chose to play for Nigeria, you were born in Netherlands so you could have as well played for Netherlands?
WTE: I represented the Netherlands at different youth levels but I always knew I wanted to play for Nigeria. When I got the opportunity to commit my international future by playing for the Super Eagles it was an easy choice.
LIB: What necessitated your parent club Gent sending you out on loan, and how did your teammates react when you assumed captaincy of Haugesund despite you being a new player?
WTE: For any young player it is important to play weekly in order to develop and fulfil their potential. Going on loan seemed like the right thing to do for me, and I think it has paid off so far.
I think my teammates have accepted my captaincy well, I am naturally a leader with a voice on and off the pitch regardless of whether I have a band on my arm.
LIB: What other goals do you want to achieve?
WTE: My dream is to play in the premier league and to play for the Super Eagles at a big tournament. Furthermore I would like to be a role model for any kid that decides to follow their dreams.
LIB: At 22 years, captaining your club and playing for Nigeria, 6.3 ft tall and handsome , how do you cope with female admirers especially Nigerian girls?
WTE: It’s flattering to get the attention but it’s not something I entertain. I am happy in my relationship with my girlfriend.
LIB: So your in a relationship? Tell us more about the special one
WTE: That’s correct, I really appreciate her. She is a great support for me and knows me better than anyone else.
LIB: Any wedding bells soon?
WTE: I want to keep the element of surprise!
Quick fire questions.. Ronaldo or Messi, Zidane or Raul, Man U or Chelsea, meat or fish, body building or cardio, Mohammed Buhari or Goodluck Jonathan, Beyonce or Rihanna, Eminem, Kanye West or Jayz?
WTE: Messi, Zidane, neither but Spurs, meat, body building, Mohammed Buhari, Rihanna, Jay Z
LIB: Your at a very important stage in your career right now, what will you do to ensure you cement your spot in the Super Eagles in the coming years?
WTE: I’m playing well for my club, that is what I have control over. When I am called upon to represent my country again I will be ready to make the nation proud.
LIB: How did you feel when you got your first Super Eagles call?
WTE: I’m friendly with all the guys. They’ve all been very welcoming and I think that has made it easier for me to perform with their support. My family and I where very proud when I got my first call-up and cap.
LIB: Anything you want to tell Nigerians ?
WTE: I hope they understand me a bit better now and I would like to thank them for there great support and kind messages on social media. They keep me going!