Rotherham United defender Semi Ajayi says he is ‘over the moon’ after receiving his first call-up to the senior Nigerian national team.
The 24-year-old centre-back has represented the country at U-20 level before, but will now have the chance to make his Super Eagles bow after being included in manager Gernot Rohr’s squad for a friendly with Saudi Arabia and 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Seychelles.
“I'm over the moon. It's the greatest honour to be able to represent your country and I'm looking forward to linking up with the squad,” he told Rotherham’s official website.
“I've played for the under 20s at the Toulon International Festival and that was a great experience but it's even better to be called-up to the full squad.”
The defender, who has been deployed in a deep-lying midfield role for his club in recent outings, said the call-up came out of the blue and he admitted he was surprised to hear that the Super Eagles’ management team had been following his progress closely over recent weeks.
“I was a bit speechless to be fair and a I didn't really know what to say, but when I got my words back I told him I would 100 percent be interested in playing for my country and it just went from there,” Ajayi continued.
“I wasn't expecting it, I had no idea. I got a call during the week from the assistant manager asking me if I'd like to represent Nigeria and I was delighted.
“He said that they've been watching me closely this season and that they've liked what they've seen, which is obviously what's led to the call-up.
“I'm really delighted and I just need to continue working hard and pushing on.”