The reason why Nigeria failed to cope with England in the first half of their 1-2 friendly loss has been provided by defender William Troost-Ekong who was on for the entire duration of the tie played at the magnificent Wembley Stadium.
Ekong partnered Leon Balogun in the first half which ended 2-0 in favour of England. In the second half Balogun was substituted as Nigeria reverted to a back three which helped them claw their way back into the game.
Alongside Kenneth Omeruo and John Ogu at the heart of the Eagles defence in the second half, they ensured that England didn’t enjoy the same space they had to wreck havoc in the second half.
Speaking after the game, Ekong said the switch to 3-5-2 formation helped the Eagles to have a grip on the game, same way the tactics enabled England to dominate the first half of the game.
“It was a game of two different halves, first half I think the tactics were different because they were playing 3-5-2 we seem to have one man less all the time. Which means a lot of possession all the time and it was difficult for us to play”, Ekong said.
“I think in the second half when we turned it around we showed we can handle a team that plays 3-5-2 when we play the same . Same way we played against Argentina, I think second half was very promising.
“We learned a lot. How we played the second half is something that we can build on, when we played against a team now that plays 3-5-2 we know how we can attack them from the start.
“These are the type of games you play before the start of big tournaments where you make mistakes and then you learn”, Ekong concluded.