William Troost-Ekong, the vice captain of the Super Eagles of Nigeria revealed that he enjoyed playing in the African Cup of Nations in Cameroon after deleting his social media accounts because there were no distractions.
Troost-Ekong captained Nigeria for most of the tournament as team captain, Ahmed Musa, was relegated to a bit-part role in Nigeria's run in the AFCON tournament.
He joined up with the Super Eagles for the tournament after enduring a poor spell with Watford FC in the Premier League. Before the start of the tournament, he deleted all his social media accounts to help him focus on the Super Eagles.
Speaking with ESPN, the Watford centre-back confessed that he was losing his passion for football up until he joined up with the Super Eagles for the AFCON tournament and deleted his social media accounts to focus on the game.
Troost-Ekong was a vital member of the Hornets squad that gained promotion to the Premier League at the end of last season, after making the switch from Serie A side Udinese.
However, his first spell in the Premier League has not been as good as he had it while in the championship as Watford has suffered greatly with regards to the quality of the sides competing for the title in England's top-flight.
He had also lost his perch in the side, being reduced to a squad player from an undisputed starter. The AFCON tournament gave him another chance to enjoy football again.
“It was a difficult time for me in November, December, and for the [Watford] team,” Troost-Ekong told ESPN.
“Of course, it’s never nice when you are criticised and when there’s bad things said about me, but I also know that’s all part of my job and it goes up and down.
“It’s like a roller coaster a lot of the time, and the deactivation of my social media at that moment in time was more just to give me some space to refocus, and not to waste any energy.”
Troost-Ekong, however, continues to retain the confidence of the national team handlers. He even got himself on the scoresheet in the win over Sudan in the group stages as the Super Eagles finished the group stages as the best-performing team, with three wins out of three.
The Tottenham Hotspur academy product revealed to ESPN that he enjoyed the tournament so much that he is considering never reopening his social media accounts.
“I wanted to keep my headspace clear and focused on what I was doing,” he added.
“And it also really made me enjoy the moment again. I really enjoyed playing the AFCON.
“And just being in the moment and spending the time with my teammates and focusing on the games and on the training sessions, to an extent to where now I am not sure I even want to bring my social media back again.”
Troost-Ekong is yet to return to the first eleven at Watford since returning from the continental showpiece, but his team is on the up under veteran new manager, Roy Hodgson.
This article was most recently revised and updated 11 months ago