Chelsea forward Victor Moses has revealed how former internationals Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha and Nwankwo Kanu talked him into choosing Nigeria over England, especially after he was overlooked by England coaches.
The former Crystal Palace sensation was named the Player of the Tournament at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa following his spectacular display as Nigeria won the African title for the third time.
Moses played for England from Under-16 to U-21 level and was tipped by former Crystal Palace owner Simon Jordan to be one of England ’s finest. But unfortunately, U-21 boss Stuart Pearce and former England manager Fabio Capello had little or no interest in Moses.
“I played all through the age levels for England and when Nigeria first asked, I wanted to concentrate on my club football,” the 22-year-old told Mirror.co.uk.
“Stuart Pearce may have spoken to my agent about England, but he never spoke to me directly and Fabio Capello never spoke to me or showed any interest in me.
“Nigeria asked again and it just seemed like the right thing to do.
“Jay-Jay Okocha and Kanu encouraged me as well before I started playing for Nigeria and it was great to speak to two legends of the country.”
Moses has yet to recover from the excitement of winning the AFCON, and he has set new targets of winning more trophies with club and country.
“It was amazing to win the tournament (AFCON). We did it for the nation. It means so much to everyone in Nigeria and it was great for me as well,” he said.
“Growing up in Nigeria, football was obviously a lot different. We just played on the streets, often on bare feet, and you used anything you could for a football.
“There were no facilities or teams. So it was a lot different when I came to England.
“It took me a little while to get used to playing organised games, on proper pitches with all the gear.”
Having started at Crystal Palace, Moses joined Wigan for £2.5m before making his summer move to Chelsea where he has already impressed in a club full of stars.
“There were a lot of big clubs interested in me when I was at Palace, but Wigan was the right move,” said Moses.
“Wigan gave me that chance and after playing in the Premier League for a while, I felt ready to make the next step.
“I joined Chelsea to improve and to win some medals. I’m confident both of those things will happen.”