'I was surprised' - Bayer winger Tella reveals when he found out he was called up for Super Eagles dutyPublished: November 13, 2023
Bayer Leverkusen winger Nathan Tella has claimed that he was surprised to be named on the Nigeria roster for their upcoming 2026 World Cup qualifying matches against Lesotho and Zimbabwe, adding that he found out about the call-up after the Europa League tie against Qarabag at the Tofiq Bahramov Republican Stadium in Baku four days ago.
Tella had arguably his best week as a professional footballer as he marked his first senior call by scoring his first-ever Bundesliga goal in Bayer Leverkusen's 4-0 rout of Union Berlin on Sunday.
Two minutes after coming off the bench, things got better for Tella and Bayer Leverkusen as the winger wrapped up the scoring with a brilliant finish to make it 4-0 in favour of the Bundesliga table toppers.
The 24-year-old, after receiving a pass from Amine Adli, finished off a counter attacking move with a thumping effort under the crossbar.
"I'm really happy about this first chance to play for my country. That was one of the goals I had set myself for this season," Tella was quoted as saying by Kicker after the win versus Union Berlin.
Tella initially thought that he was being criticized for his performance against Qarabag when he started receiving several messages on his smartphone but when he checked the messages, it turned out that it was the official invitation and congratulations from his family and friends.
"I was surprised. I found out about the nomination after the game in Baku. "I was pretty upset with how I played.
"Receiving such good news gave me a lot of self-confidence for the game (against Union Berlin). I haven't shown my best performance yet. I can still learn a lot," Tella added.
Everything indicates that Tella will make his Nigeria debut during the November internationals, given that he has te ability to play in multiple positions, coupled with the fact that manager Jose Peseiro has named only two wingers in his squad apart from the Bayer Leverkusen star.
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