By James Agberebi: Hibernian manager Neil Lennon has stated that Nigeria defender Efe Ambrose’s impressive showings for his Scottish club could earn him a recall to the Super Eagles squad for next summer’s World Cup finals in Russia.
Lennon brought Ambrose, 28, to Celtic from Israeli club Ashdod and moved to sign him on loan to help Hibs push for the Championship title and promotion last season after he had fallen out of favour at Celtic.
This summer, Lennon persuaded Ambrose to sign a two-year deal at Hibernian.
Commenting on Ambrose’s turnaround, Lennon stated that interest from clubs could start pouring in for the Nigerian defender, while positing that he was not a failure at Celtic.
“It wouldn’t surprise me,” Lennon told Edinburgh News. “There were a few teams in for him before we got him last year and, if he keeps playing the way he has been, his stock will rise.
“This is a player who has played in the Champions League and played in a team which qualified and reached the last 16. He’s also won the Africa Cup of Nations and played in the World Cup, so he has a massive pedigree.
“For me, at Celtic, Efe was excellent. He was very consistent for me for three seasons. You don’t lose that.
“He is a superb athlete and a consummate professional, who looks after himself very well so I had no worries bringing him in. Now I am seeing the player I know he is. He is a good player. There is no disgrace not to make the Celtic team.
“There are a lot of good players who are on the fringes there or who have left the club and then gone on to play very, very well elsewhere. To play in that environment, while it’s great, is difficult.
“You have to take the rough with the smooth, and it is feast or famine. If things are going well, it’s the best thing in the world and then you make a mistake and you are under the spotlight. Then you have to show a bit of character, a bit of personality.
“Efe has that in abundance. He is very quiet away from the place and he is a man of great faith as well. How long can we keep him in this form? I don’t know. He has his own targets as well with Nigeria having qualified for the World Cup.
“That’s important for him to knock on the door and try to get back into that squad as well, he’s more than capable of doing that with the form he is showing. He is still a big man there, he has 50 odd caps and he is at his peak. Nigeria have qualified and he didn’t participate in the qualifiers because he was not playing. Now he is back playing hopefully he can start asking a few questions.”