In the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Spain will turn to a new leader at the back, and Ademetan Abayomi argues that it will be Tottenham Hotspur product William Troost Ekong
Ekong will play alongside Leon Balogun, whose injury history will heighten the expectations on the Bursaspor man to successfully organise the defence.
In showing the qualities that the likes of Uche Okechukwu, Taribo West and Joseph Yobo showed for Nigeria in past World Cups at the heart of the Eagles, back-line, Ekong will now be expected to show similar levels of competitiveness and leadership.
The lapses in concentration and the occasional lackadaisical defending that have punctuated his career look to have been erased.
Not only will Ekong have to replicate the infectious influence of the above mentioned trio, he will need to bring out the best in his central defensive partner Balogun.
Over the coming days Ekong will become an increasingly integral part of that core. His performances will determine how successful Nigeria will be this summer.