Hearts of Scotland striker, Uche Ikpeazu,in this exclusive interview with Completesports.com’s OLUYEMI OGUNSEYIN, expresses his readiness and availability to play for the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the nearest possible future.
The Bedford, United Kingdom born 24-year-old who is a former Dream Team VI invitee reiterates his eagerness to represent Nigeria under Gernot Rohr.
Ikpeazu recently extended his contract with Scottish Premier League side, Hearts. The strong and pacy attacker has 4 goals and three assists from 16 matches in all competitions this season.
Completesports.com: What made you change your mind to play for Nigeria having earlier appeared as if you actually preferred the Three Lions of England?
Uche Ikpeazu: I am a Nigerian guy and it has always been my dream to represent Nigeria, I never for once said I never wanted to play for the country. I don’t know where that tabloid came from. Nigeria is my fatherland and my dad will be so proud if I eventually get to play for the nation and representing Nigeria will mean the world to me if I am actually given the opportunity.
How do you see the Super Eagles under Gernot Rohr? Do you feel the Eagles can win the African Cup of Nations in Egypt come this summer?
I feel that the Super Eagles of Nigeria have a great squad and great individual players as well, so I don’t see reason why they cannot win the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt. I believe everyone should be very optimistic because the team has got a very good chance with the players they have got, I am very optimistic for Nigeria. And obviously,I would love to be a part of it.
I also believe that the manager, Gernot Rohr has got them playing some good football from the matches that I have watched. I feel if they can gel, they will do very well in Egypt.
What can Uche Ikpeazu add to the Nigerian national team if you eventually get a call-up?
I just feel that I can add some sort of physicality and obviously, I am a big guy, I can be a real focal point for the team, protect the ball and give confidence to the team with my hold-up play. I see those as my best attributes and obviously, I score goals too and I think my all-round play is very good.
Those are the things I feel that I can add to the Nigerian national team. I also feel that I am quite different to any other striker in the squad, I believe I will bring something different.
What motivates you in your football career, is it the money and fame?
Money and fame don’t go with me. Obviously, money is good but that is not my main focus because I have always wanted to improve and be better than I was yesterday and I try to improve on a daily basis in every aspect of my life.
God has given me a talent and so, I have to nurture it with my life and not all about money and fame, that will surely come along anyway. But for me, it is always about becoming a much better player than yesterday and also grow my potential.
Do you have the ambition to play in the English Premier League in the future? If not England, what other European league do you dream of playing in?
I think everyone’s ambition is to play in the English Premier League one day and I also know that I have got the ability too and to achieve this, I am going to work hard and keep on doing what I am doing and focus on Hearts at the moment because it is a great club which has given me a great platform.
Of course, my dream is to play in England but I still think I need to improve, I am learning the game as well but I am really enjoying my football with Hearts at the moment.