Bursaspor defender, William Troost-Ekong has claimed that former Super Eagles’ head coach, Sunday Oliseh almost killed his career and that of Brighton centre-back, Leon Balogun, in the senior national team.

According to the 24-year-old, Oliseh labelled him and Balogun as too soft to play African football during his reign as Nigeria’s coach.

Troost-Ekong said that he was first upset when he was told by Oliseh that his and Balogun’s physical appearance won’t be good enough to confront African strikers.

“My partner at centre-back [Leon Balogun] is half-German, half-Nigerian, so he is the same as me,” Troost-Ekong told Guardian.co.uk.

“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 skillful, 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 and Balogun are both expected to partner each other in centre defense when Gernot Rohr’s side clash with England on Saturday in a pre-World Cup friendly at Wembley Stadium.

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