Obi on Inter Channel: "Glad to have made it"

APPIANO GENTILE
Congratulations on becoming a permanent member of the senior squad. That was
Roberto Scarpini’s message to Joel Obi
on behalf of all Nerazzurri fans, as the midfielder was hosted on Inter Channel’s A tu per tu
programme.

Since your debut with the
first team you’ve now made 20 appearances. Are you happy?

"Finally I’ve made it. It’s a
great satisfaction for me because it means all my hard work over
the years was worth it. Now I’m reaping the rewards. But
I mustn’t settle for what I’ve got: I have to keep working to become a regular first-team starter, which is by no means easy."

What have you had to work
on most to adapt?

"I’ve had to become
more professional because when I was in the Primavera I used to take things easy at times. I was concentrated only on doing well on the pitch, on
being a good player in the strictest sense, but when you get to this
level that’s not enough – you have to remain focused and work hard
all the time."

Is there anything you found easy in the U-19s but not anymore?

"It was easier to
take your man on. That’s more difficult now because even if you
manage to get past a great player, you’ve immediately got another three covering. You have to think more quickly."

Did you expect the season
to start like this?

"Honestly, no. But
I’m pleased to be playing so often. We’re not doing too well at the
moment but we’ll soon get back on track because we’re putting in the
work and we have time to work with all of us together."

So Inter will come through
this rough patch?

"The results aren’t
really a true reflection because the team is putting in
the effort. But they’ll soon pick up."

What do you know about
Chievo?

"The last time I played
against them was in the friendly in Monza, which I think was probably my worst
performance for the first team. We know how they play and if Ranieri
picks me I’ll know what to do."

When will Joel Obi score
his first goal for the senior team?

"I need to relax a bit and believe in myself more, so I hope it will come very
soon."

What does Claudio Ranieri
say to you?

"We’re all working
together and he’s helping us a lot to play without anxiety and with
the right aggressiveness, which is what a youngster needs if he wants
to get himself noticed."

Qualifying for the
Africa Cup of Nations didn’t go too well but you’ve become a regular for Nigeria…

"I’m really happy to be
in the senior national team because it was always my dream. We
didn’t manage to qualify for the Cup of Nations but there’s
another one in 2013 and we have to work hard to get there. I hope to
be involved."

What’s your relationship
with your older team-mates like?

"Great. They’re very
good to me and I joke and laugh with all of them."

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