Untold Story of Super Eagles Captain, Troost-Ekong.

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William Paul Troost-Ekong was born on 1st September 1993 in the Netherlands, to a Dutch mother and a Nigerian father from Akwa Ibom. He is a professional footballer who captains the Nigerian national football team and plays as a center-back for Super League Greece club PAOK. 

Troost-Ekong has always had a knack for football since his childhood, however, unlike the regular grass-to-grace story of most footballers, his love for football was forbidden in his family. He was born into a well-to-do family and his Nigerian father wanted him to have a good education and success in life. Troost’s father didn’t take his passion for football seriously as he never saw a future in football for his son. 

At age 12, Troost was sent to a boarding school in England, the Hockeril Anglo-European College in Bishop’s Stortford. While he attended there, he played football at the youth level in England for Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur instead of focusing on his studies. After three years in England, Troost returned home to his father who was expecting a university admission, with a document of admission into the football academy.

His father who was so furious about his decision refused to sign the document. Troost’s mother, however, took the bull by the horns and signed the documents, as she had always supported Troost’s football dreams. This later led to the divorce of his parents and a dispute between him and his father.

It wasn’t all rosy for Troost after he joined the Tottenham Football Academy in London as things became quite difficult for him. He was even advised by coaches to give up on football because he wasn’t good enough to be a footballer. Troost damned the odds and continued to pursue his football career. He left the football academy and joined a small team in the Netherlands in 2013.

He started his senior career with FC Groningen and FC Dordrecht. After that, Troost had a series of transfers, in 2015 he was signed by Belgian club KAA Gent and was immediately loaned out to Norwegian club FK Haugesund. The year 2015 was a limelight year for him, as he made his debut for the Nigerian national team. 

Troost later moved to the Turkish Super Lig club, Bursaspor in 2017. He later earned himself a move to join the Italian Serie A club, Udinese in 2018 after a year in Turkey. In the same year after the World Cup, Troost hatched the long dispute between him and his father who saw he was doing well.

Troost became a revered member of the Udinese team after he made 35 league appearances and was booked four times, helping Udinese to the 12th position. His diligence and hard work paid off as he earned a dream move to England where he was signed for EFL Championship side Watford on a five-year contract deal. 

Ever since Troost has had a successful international football career. He played for the Nigerian team at the AFCON competition and his efforts of taking the country to the finals against Ivory Coast earned him the Player of the Tournament. He was seen as the Best Central Defender of the tournament, scoring three high-pressure penalties during the games. 

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