Joel Obi has said he is confident he will make the final cut for the World Cup after he was left “heart-broken” when he was overlooked for Brazil 2014.
“If I keep going, play well for Torino and do well for my country with every chance I get, I think there’s a big chance for me to go to the World Cup,” said the Torino midfielder, who shunned a chance to play for Italy at youth level.
“This big tournament is the ultimate ambition of every professional footballer and I hope to work harder to fulfill that dream.”
The midfielder was recalled to the Eagles last month after a four-year absence.
He has impressed for his Serie A club this season, making 24 appearances in Serie A and scoring six goals.
The 26-year-old revealed he was shattered when he did not make the final squad for the last World Cup in Brazil.
“I was heartbroken for missing the World Cup in Brazil, but I now have another big opportunity four years later,” he said.
“Coach Gernot Rohr has made it clear that everyone must earn their place in the team. That’s equally encouraging and challenging, so I’m looking forward to the competition for a spot.”
Obi has won 15 caps for his country over an eight-year period and he’s hopeful of staying injury free to secure a ticket to Russia.
“I’ve had a period when injury robbed me of playing for my country, but with Russia in mind, it would just be unbelievable to finally be playing at a major tournament for Nigeria,” he said.