Rotherham United defender Semi Ajayi has been called up to the Nigeria squad for the upcoming African Cup of Nations Qualifiers.
Ajayi has only ever previously represented the Super Eagles up to Under 20s level and receives his first full call-up ahead of their games against Seychelles and Saudi Arabia.
The 24-year-old centre back was a key member in Paul Warne’s promotion-winning side last season and has appeared six times for the club in the early stages of the current campaign, scoring against Wigan Athletic in the Carabao Cup first round.
Speaking to www.themillers.co.uk following the official confirmation of his call-up to the Nigerian national team, Ajayi expressed his delight at the opportunity to perform on the international stage.
“I’m over the moon. It’s the greatest honour to be able to represent your country and I’m looking forward to linking up with the squad,” he beamed.
“I’ve played for the under 20s at the Toulon International Festival and that was a great experience but it’s even better to be called-up to the full squad.”
The defender, who has been deployed in a deep-lying midfield role for his club in recent outings, admitted that the call from his country came out of the blue and he admitted he was equally surprised to hear that the Super Eagles’ management team had been following his progress closely over recent weeks.
“I was a bit speechless to be fair and a I didn’t really know what to say, but when I got my words back I told him I would 100% be interested in playing for my country and it just went from there,” Ajayi continued.
“I wasn’t expecting it, I had no idea. I got a call during the week from the assistant manager asking me if I’d like to represent Nigeria and I was delighted.
“He said that they’ve been watching me closely this season and that they’ve liked what they’ve seen, which is obviously what’s led to the call-up.
“I’m really delighted and I just need to continue working hard and pushing on.”