|Org||Nigeria National Team|
|Club as Player||FC Torino|
2019 06 11 Retrieve
[Ola Aina is to leave Chelsea for Torino on a permanent deal after impressing during a season-long loan at the Serie A club last term] Everyone at Chelsea Football Club would like to thank Ola for his services and we wish him the best of luck for the next stage in his career
2019 06 15 Retrieve
[Aina: I want to win AFCON with Nigeria after pain of missing World Cup] I just missed out on the World Cup last time, that was hard to not go. African Cup of Nations is around the corner and to play in it is a big thing for me. To compete and play after two times not qualifying for it, it’s really special for me to be involved in it. After I missed the World Cup, I bounced back quickly and moved on. You take that disappointment and turn it into hunger and desire to be in this tournament and be selected. It has just pushed me to be even more determined. Now I’m ready to go and do my best.
We are going well. Training is at a high level. There’s a good spirit. The preparation has been good. I think everyone is confident. Everyone is happy. Everyone is at ease and it’s a good vibe to be around. We are raring to go. We would love to win it because the nation has missed out on two of these tournaments and the one before, we won. So, we want to go there, do our best and to try to win this tournament. I think everyone has improved in our young squad. I have improved in certain aspects. I have still got a lot more to improve on. I’m not the finished article. Mentally, I have been able to improve to deal with setbacks better and quicker. I’m better physically and definitely tactically. I am always improving and you feel the improvements.
Everyone would say Senegal are one of the favourites. They have a very good team and they did very well at the World Cup that just went. They will be very difficult. I don’t think we are looking at our opposition too much, we are trying to focus on ourselves and be the best we can be. You have players like John Obi Mikel and Wilfred Ndidi in our team. Then there is Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita all at Liverpool, the European champions. There are a lot of big players in these African teams. To go up against them and compete with them is a good thing for me. You see these guys on TV all the time and achieving great things, then you play them, it is surreal at times. It is my job though and you keep it professional
2019 06 15b Retrieve
[The former Blues full-back Ola Aina has backed Chelsea’s young players to make an impact as they attempt to cope with a two-window transfer ban] With the ban coming in I think Chelsea should give the youngsters a chance. I say should, because with the season gone I think that a lot of loan players have proven themselves. On merit, I think it should happen. I think the young ones can come in and show what they are about. I think it would be good for them because I don’t think there would be as much pressure on with the ban. Chelsea have to make do with what they have which is a talented bunch of guys out on loan and in the academy. I think a lot of the guys are ready. Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori, Tammy Abraham and even young Reece James. He has only had one season on loan but if you throw people like that into the deep end then they will come out for you. We already know Callum Hudson-Odoi can handle the pressure of playing for Chelsea.
Eden will definitely be missed. I don’t think fans should think that just one of the academy guys or loan guys can replace Hazard. That’s too much pressure and replacing Eden will be very difficult. It should be a relaxed situation for everyone where the young ones do their best, which I think they will do. He has been a great player for Chelsea over the past seven years. He is also a great character, a great person. I have enjoyed my time with him in the changing rooms. It has been a pleasure to play with him.
A pleasure to watch him in training and in matches. There is a time when people have to move on and he has chosen to move on. No one will hold that against him because he did everything for us. He tried his best for us. I am sure everyone wishes him the best. I just pray that Chelsea can manage without him. I don’t have a favourite moment but I have collective moments of him being who he is in life. He likes to joke and banter. He was always happy. I never once saw Eden angry and he is a good character. With Eden, as a defender all you can do is hope for the best. You have to hope he makes a mistake. If he doesn’t you just say ‘good luck’ to any defender really
I don’t count Loftus-Cheek as an emerging talent [anymore], I think he is already established even though he is young and from the academy. He’s been at Chelsea for four years, so he is an established first-team player. He has proven himself already and it is exciting to see. Ruben has been ready to play at this level for a long time, so seeing him this season, before his injury, getting the recognition and playing time that he deserves was really good. He has proven himself once again that he has been ready and he is ready. If he signs a new deal then that’s great for him and Chelsea and he will do fantastic. It is up to him, though. Whatever happens, happens
[For Aina, his chapter in west London has ended] Things are a lot clearer. I had not been thinking about moving. I just think about what’s ahead of me and that’s the national team. We can achieve something great. I just had to do what’s best for me and my family. Hopefully it is the right decision
2020 05 10 Retrieve
[Torino wing-back Ola Aina has defended his decision of choosing Nigeria over England for his international career] England was never going to give me a chance to play for the senior team, that’s the difference. Nigeria gave me the pathway to play for their senior team. I probably would have made it there at some point but Nigeria told me I can make it here now, it was a no-brainer
Yes, if you have the roots and from Nigeria, you should be welcomed to play for Nigeria, no one should be felt like they are pushed aside
[Yes, if you have the roots and from Nigeria, you should be welcomed to play for Nigeria, no one should be felt like they are pushed aside] I would say Samuel Chukwueze, he is a tricky player even in training, he is business-minded