PART 1 INTERVIEW: THE RETURN OF KENNETH OMERUO

Kenneth Omeruo returned to the Super Eagles team for the first time since leaving with a shoulder injury in June.
As he prepares to face Ethiopia on Saturday,he was interviewed and he tells the difficulty of getting back into the Super Eagles first team, his expectations at Chelsea, and how he thinks the current Golden Eaglets squad are better than the one he played in!
Q:You’ve been out for a few months after that shoulder injury and surgery. How hard was it to be out for so long?
It was a difficult few months, but everything was perfect – the surgery, and the rehabilitation and I did it at one of the best places in the world. So I’m very happy I took the decision to do it. I got some encouragement from Austin Ejide because he has some experience with this injury so he said it’s better to do it now than do it close to the World Cup and that was important. Now, I’m happy I took his advice and I’m feeling much better.
Q:You must have missed playing football …
Yeah, but you know there is a pain in your hand and you can’t play. It was a slow and gradual process but I’m really happy I’m okay now.
Q:During that time we saw you go out and visit some of your teammates. How important was that for you?
It was really good. After the surgery I had two weeks because there was really nothing I could do. I couldn’t train because it was still sore. So I called my friends Rabiu Ibrahim and Efe and told them I was coming to visit. It was important for me and being there with them helped me forget my injury for a while. And I got a chance to watch them as a fan!
Q:While you were out, you saw that game against Ethiopia. How concerned were you watching it?
The first half was scary. But I was happy we came back in the second half to win that game because it was an important game for us to win and the players really gave their everything to make sure we won.
Q:Now that you’re back, how difficult do you think it will be to get your place back in the team?
Yeah, there’s always competition. It feels good that there will always be someone to replace anyone in the team either through injury or suspension. I have to respect every other player in the team because they have done well. I can’t just come back and expect to walk into the team, but I will just play my game. I don’t have to play like I’m fighting with someone for the position. I will just play my game and the rest is up to the coach to pick who he wants.
Q:You played your first game with the Chelsea under-21 side just last week. How important was that for you?
It felt good to play again after a while out. Although we play games during training, this was a match situation so it was important and I had to get used to a match situation once again and that game helped me with that. So I was happy I played that game and it really felt good to be back.
Q:What was the support like when you came back to the team?
It felt good. Everyone was telling me how much they missed me. It feels good to be missed when you go out. Everyone welcomed me and it felt like a real family and little things like that are what makes you want to give everything for your teammates on the pitch and outside the pitch.
Q:You were listed in Chelsea’s last Champions League squad. Does it make you feel good to know that you are considered for the main squad?
Yeah, it does. Because I missed the chance to go for pre-season with the squad and it’s difficult to get into the team if you miss pre-season and coming back from injury, I just have to keep working hard and fight to be in the team.
Q:Has the manager spoken to you about whether you will stay with the team and get games or if you’re going out on loan again?
Right now nothing has been said. I just have to keep training and working hard. But definitely if I don’t get an opportunity to play, I will have to go somewhere where I will play. So at least I’m playing and I can keep my place in the national team and also to be fit for the World Cup. Because I have to keep my match fitness so I don’t lose my place in the national team. That’s important for me.

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