Marvin Ekpiteta is hoping his performances for Leyton Orient will allow him to gain international recognition with Nigeria.
The young defender, who made his home debut for the O’s against Barrow last week as a first half substitute, was called up to the Nigeria U20 squad in 2013 and even played in two friendlies for his country against local teams.
Having now tasted first team football for Orient, Ekpiteta is hoping his performances for the O’s will lead to another international call-up in the future.
Speaking to the Guardian Series last week, he said: “I would love to play for my country again and to go back there. It was a good experience and I really enjoyed it, so I would love to go back there one day.”
Ekpiteta made his first start in an Orient shirt on Saturday, playing the full 90 minutes as the O’s picked up a point against Macclesfield Town in the National League.
Against both Barrow and Macclesfield, the 22-year-old has played alongside George Elokobi, a player who has played at the highest level with Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League, and Ekpiteta is delighted to have such a reassuring presence alongside him at the back.
He said: “Yeah it’s really good. I know that he’s experienced and says the right things and he knows what to do. Him telling me what to do helps me a lot and it gives me confidence knowing that I’ve got such a big character playing alongside me to help me.”
The young defender has impressed since stepping into the side over the last two matches, with his performances earning praise from both Ross Embleton and head coach Justin Edinburgh.
Ekpiteta also paid tribute to Edinburgh, praising the way he has welcomed him to Brisbane Road, and the 22-year-old is now hoping to nail down a regular place in Orient’s defence ahead of next season.
He said: “He’s (Edinburgh) been great. He’s really welcomed me and made me feel at home so soon. He’s always been saying to me ‘keep going’, ‘work hard’ and just don’t stop doing what you are doing as your chance will come. He was right as my chance has come now and I think I’ve taken it.
“I just want to play the best I can in the remaining five games. I just want to give it my all so that I leave nothing on the pitch.”