Nigeria international de-fender, Elderson Echiejile has revealed that missing out on the 2014 FIFA World Cup “was a very sad time for me” but insists he will bounce back to play at the 2018 World Cup if the Super Eagles make it to Russia. The left-back suffered a muscle injury during Nigeria’s 0-0 draw against Greece in a pre-World Cup warm-up game in Pennsylvania on June 3 and was subsequently ruled out of the World Cup.
Echiejile has since returned to training with French club, AS Monaco, but reveals that overcoming the setback of missing the 2014 World Cup has not been quite straightforward.
“It was a very sad time for me, but I have to move on with my career. I believe there are many World Cups still in me,” Echiejile siad.
The former SC Braga left-back has now set his sights on success with AS Monaco in the 2014/15 season and will be looking to nail down a regular spot in the first team after a complicated 2013/14 campaign.
Echiejile made just five appearances for the club last season but seems to have earned the approval of the Monaco top brass ahead of the new campaign.
The club’s technical director, Riccardo Peccini described Echiejile as a footballer “with great potential.”
“He is a very good player that we followed for some time. We continue to move forward in our desire to focus on players with high potential,” Peccini said.
Echiejile now wants to justify the confidence reposed in him by helping the Principality club depose PSG as the best club in France – something they last managed in 2000.
“We were beaten to the championship by PSG and so the target would be to go one better and be champions of France again,” he said.
To prepare their onslaught on the championship, Monaco trained in Austria and Echiejile revealed that it was not something he particularly looked forward to with great enthusiasm.
“Pre-season is always physically demanding and we don’t look forward to it, but as professionals we know the work we put in during that time, will go a long way to keep us going during the season,” he noted.
Elderson obviously did well during pre-season as he was included in the Monaco squad for the Euro-Americana tournament in Barranquilla and Miami at the end of July.
“I am eager to establish myself in the Monaco first team after I joined the club in January. I played six matches last season, but I want to play more regularly. But I’m also the first to know that I have to work very hard to earn my place in the first team week in, week out,” he said.