William Troost-Ekong says he hopes the experience gained by the Super Eagles during the 2018 FIFA World Cup can lead to a brighter future for the team.
The Super Eagles will face Seychelles in their next competitive game in September in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier after failing to go all the way at the World Cup where they were placed third behind Croatia and Argentina.
“Everyone was just trying to deal with the loss and move on, so it was a quiet dressing room but definitely one that learnt a lot and hopefully formed some players,” Ekong told BBC Sport.
“This is what you need as a team. When you talk about that Argentinian team, that’s a team that has experienced all levels, Croatia are the same while Iceland have played the Euros together.
“You need a tournament like this just to learn what it is like to play at this level, under this pressure, in front of the whole world.
“Hopefully by the next time we get to a World Cup, and if we can be part of that with all the players (who played in Russia), it will be nothing new to us and it might be easier for us to perform at a higher level.”
The Nigerian defender also praised the team spirit of the Eagles, who in the past have often been accused of being more about individuals than togetherness.
“All of us are really down to earth and most of us are quite young,” he said.
“I think everyone has got great harmony, everyone wants to work for each other and if we can keep this up then it is definitely promising for the future.”
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 years ago