Super Eagles defender, Ola Aina, has said moving to Italy to play for Torino has improved his game and look forward to returning to Chelsea soon. Excerpts…
How has it been for you playing in Italy?
It wasn’t that difficult for me, it was a big decision but not a hard one. It was a challenge I really wanted to take and I am happy taking the decision. The few months I have been there, I have been able to move ahead.
I try as much as possible to concentrate on what I am doing and I can see the difference in my game. I have learnt a lot and it is showing in my performance for the national team.
Do you think with what you are doing at the moment, you can re-launch your career in the English Premier League?
I think everything is a platform, every decision a player makes in his career is a platform, on and off the pitch, whether you are in the team or not. I think it should be a stepping stone to learn and grow, maybe playing in Series A is a good platform for me, for my career and my football.
You belong to Chelsea at the moment, do you still see your future with the club or you plan to move somewhere else soon?
Personally, I have been a Chelsea supporter since I was young and the dream never dies for me. I know it is difficult especially with the way things are at the moment, some people might say it is unlikely, but you never know.
Everyone needs luck and if the luck happens to fall on me, I will be grateful. But at the end of the day, it is about my career and I have to look at what is best for me, so if eventually there is a move elsewhere, I would have to see what is good for me, but for now I am enjoying my football, and I am still a Chelsea player. However, I am going to see what the future holds for me.
“Everyone needs luck and if the luck happens to fall on me, I will be grateful. But at the end of the day, it is about my career and I have to look at what is best for me, so if eventually there is a move elsewhere, I would have to see what is good for me, but for now I am enjoying my football, and I am still a Chelsea player.”
What are the chances of Super Eagles qualifying for the AFCON?
The two games against Libya were very good for the team; we can see the progress so far. Libya showed that they are a good team and for now our mind is set on qualification. We are trying to take the games as they come and qualify for the AFCON.
The chances for me are very high, but we have to back our opinion and desire with performance on the field of play. We will continue to play towards achieving that and play each game like the final. We have to do our job as a team.
Your parent club, Chelsea doing very well at the moment, how far do you think the club can go this season?
I am always optimistic, they are doing well at the moment and if they continue like this, they have the opportunity of winning the EPL.
“We are trying to take the games as they come and qualify for the AFCON. The chances for me are very high, but we have to back our opinion and desire with performance on the field of play.”
Your friend and national team colleague, Alex Iwobi, has found a new lease of life with Arsenal despite the coming of a new coach. It was expected that he might not be favoured by the new coach but reverse was the case, have you guys come together to discuss this?
I know him very well, from a young age, we grew up together, went to same school, stayed on the same street for many years and I am very close to him.
You are right, some people were of the opinion that the new coach won’t really have a need for him, either bench him, send him on loan, but Alex is a very resilient player, he believes in his ability and you can see that through his performance.
That’s what the coach has seen in him. He is a kind of player that loves his freedom and if you want to get the best out of him, then you have to give him that freedom for him to perform very well. He is a great player. So far he has been playing well for the club sides and the national team.