William Troost-Ekong has joined Salernitana and here’s why it is perfect for the Super Eagles captain.
Nigerian defender William Troost-Ekong has completed a move to Salernitana on loan to the end of the season from Watford.
The initial loan deal with an obligation to buy for Salernitana is a big step up from the English Championship to the Serie A.
But beyond simply swapping second-division football for the top flight in a top European league, this recently confirmed is perfect for Troost-Ekong’s career for a number of reasons, all of which will now be explored.
Italian manager Davide Nicola was appointed as manager by downtrodden Salernitana in February 2022 with the club looking set for an instant return to Serie B but he led a miraculous recovery in which they took 18 points from the final 15 games to escape relegation.
While all of that was happening in Italy, Troost-Ekong was in England getting relegated along with Watford from the Premier League and only played 12 minutes of football in the entire second half of the season under manager Roy Hodgson who was appointed in January.
This matters because Nicola is still the coach of Salernitana and he trusts the Nigerian centre-back which is why he has chosen to sign him.
The pair have worked together before in Nicola’s short spell as Udinese manager in the 2018/19 season when Troost-Ekong joined the Italian club from Bursaspor in the summer of 2018, three months before Nicola was appointed.
And although Nicola only coached the team for 15 games, Troost-Ekong played every single minute of his short reign and the Nigerian went on to play 35 Serie A games that season even after Nicola was fired.
Troost-Ekong played 64 games in three years at Watford because he had managers who didn’t know or trust him but the move to Salernitana offers new hope because Davide Nicola has proven that he wants the Nigerian and will give him playing time.
Troost-Ekong is the calvary
Salernitana are in the Serie A relegation battle for the second season in a row and it is entirely because of their defensive frailties which is why Troost-Ekong’s addition to the squad is absolutely necessary.
I Granata are currently 16th on the log, six points above relegation waters so they’re by no means the worst team in the league but they have still somehow conceded 37 goals in 19 games, at least four more than any other Serie A team.
Nicola’s team plays a standard three-at-the-back formation with three central defenders which gives Troost-Ekong more chances to get selected for the starting xi.
Salernitana are missing all three of their starting central defenders with club captain Federico Fazio, Norbert Gyomber and Dylan Bronn all out injured.
As a result, they have been forced to rely on youth with 20-year-old centre-back Lorenzo Pirola, 21-year-old Flavius Daniliuc and 22-year-old Matteo Lovato have been getting more game time than expected which is what makes 29-year-old Troost-Ekong a necessity.
The Super Eagles captain arrives in Salerno as the calvary, the proverbial saviour to a season that has started to derail in the last few weeks as they have conceded 10 goals in their last two games.
Beyond helping Salernitana, Troost-Ekong playing regular football at a level as high as Serie A would also benefit the Super Eagles, which means the Nigeria captain can turn up to represent his country in the best shape possible.
- The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Pulse Sports
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