Brighton & Hove Albion defender Leon Balogun believes that Nigeria’s defeat to England at Wembley Stadium on Saturday highlighted the areas where the Super Eagles need to improve ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The central defender played the first half of his country’s 2-1 loss to Gareth Southgate’s side at the national stadium over the weekend, and he reflected honestly on the contest.
He said, “I think it was tough for us in the first half and we worked very hard to try to keep our shape.
“England were pulling us across the pitch and we struggled slightly, and they deserved to be ahead. I didn’t see much of the second half, but people have said we were much better so that’s good.
“It’s another game for us ahead of the World Cup and it’s shown us where we need to improve as a team.”
Nigeria were the first side from Africa to reach this summer's finals, and will face Iceland, Croatia and Argentina in the group stages of the tournament in Russia later this month.
Balogun emphasised the importance of preparation ahead of a challenging run of fixtures when the competition gets underway.
“It’s a tough group and we know we have to be ready and well-prepared.
“We gave a better performance and won the second half and that’s the way you have to look at it from our point of view - we’re taking the positives.
“But we have to learn from our mistakes because the tournament isn’t far away now.”
The former FSV Mainz 05 man put pen to paper on two-year deal with the Seagulls last month, and he was full of praise and admiration for how his new club fared last season in the top flight.
“I’m delighted to be in the Premier League, but it’s been a busy time for me recently with that and the international side.
“When the World Cup has calmed down, I can start to organise myself and then I will have the realisation that I’m about to play in one of the best leagues in the world, which has always been one of my biggest dreams.
“They did amazingly well last season – I’m looking forward to joining them and playing for the manager – he gave me a good feeling and I’m looking forward to working with him.
“He seems like a true gentleman and I’ve only heard good things about him.”