Former Tottenham Hotspur ace Rafael van Der Vaart played an advisory role in the career of Nigerian defender William Troost-Ekong , who was on from start to finish for Nigeria in yesterday’s 0-2 loss against Croatia.
The pair met at English Premier League side Spurs during the formative years of Ekong at a centre back before his transfer to the Netherlands, where his performance caught the eyes of the national team selectors of Nigeria.
Now at Turkish side Bursaspor, van Der Vaart said he had a chat with the then 18 year old Ekong after he trained with the first team and advised him to return to the Netherlands as it will be best for his development.
”Troost-Ekong trained with the first team when I was at Spurs. He told me he was from the Netherlands. I advised him to go back to the Netherlands. It was good for his development. Now he’s at the World Cup”, he said before the start of the game.
Happy to see Ekong at the World Cup, the Dutch legend will however be disappointed at the performance of Ekong who was culpable for both goals conceded by Nigeria in the 0-2 loss yesterday.
Ekong lost his man Andreij Kramaric who headed the first goal that deflected off Oghenekaro Etebo for an own goal before giving away a penalty in the second half after grabbing Mario Mandzukic in the box.