Chelsea defender Kenneth Omeruo believes Argentina forward Lionel Messi can be put in check when Nigeria take on Argentina in their last group match at the World Cup in Brazil.
The Barcelona midfielder could not beat goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama at the last World Cup in South Africa, but the South Americans won the game courtesy of a sixth minute goal from Gabriel Heinze.
Iran and Bosnia-Herzegovina complete Group F but the Argentines are clear favourites to emerge from the group to the knockout stage.
“I’m really looking forward to the game against Argentina. We will try as much as possible to keep a clean sheet. It will be difficult but we have to do that,” Omeruo told FIFA.com.
“They are the best players in the world and we have to show our quality by standing up to them (Messi). We will first of all have to make sure we get maximum points from the first two games.
“I watch him a lot on TV. It’s going to be a team effort to try and stop him. Everyone will have to be positive and 100 per cent focused on the game,”
With Messi, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain all likely to be in the final Argentina World Cup squad the Super Eagles defence will have their hands full in keeping goals out.
“I do have a good friendship with Godfrey Oboabona off the pitch; we talk on Skype sometimes,” Omeruo said. “Before the national team I used to play with him in the Nigerian league with Sunshine Stars.
“Most times, before games, Stephen Keshi gives us both separate advice. He tries to psyche us up as much as possible. As well as that, he is a father who advises us. He’s a really good man to play under,” he added.
The youngster, who has been on-loan at Middlesbrough FC from Chelsea this season, where he has been in great form and has become a fans favourite, said that he would love to return to The Boro after the World Cup as he is enjoying playing there.
“We’ll have to wait and see,” Omeruo said. “It would be nice to go back to Middlesbrough; it’s a good environment with good people around. I like the manager.
“Obviously we’ll have to see how the World Cup goes and my first priority is to stay with Chelsea. From playing in training with John Terry, Gary Cahill and David Luiz, I just want to put myself in there, try to learn from them and correct anything I’m not doing right.”[Punch]