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Nigeria cut squad as Moses Simon travels for tests

Nigeria have trimmed their 30-man provisional squad down to 25 ahead of the 2018 World Cup ahead of Saturday’s friendly against England.

Coach Gernot Rohr has told Stephen Eze, Dele Ajiboye, Junior Lokosa and Uche Agbo they will not be needed in Russia.

BBC Sport understands Moses Simon remains with the travelling group to undergo tests on his thigh injury.

“It’s tough because we can’t take all the 30 players to the World Cup,” team spokesman Toyin Ibitoye told BBC Sport.

“They’ve been informed and they’ve thanked the coaching staff for the opportunity and promise to keep supporting their colleagues.”

Despite KAA Gent winger Moses seemingly ruled out of the World Cup altogether the coaching staff are keen to give him more time to ascertain the true extent of his injury.

The 25-man travelling to London includes premier league quintet of Kelechi Iheanacho, Wilfred Ndidi, Ahmed Musa, Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi.

Former Chelsea midfielder John Mikel Obi is the captain of the squad which must be whittled down to 23 by June 4, with the tournament starting on June 14.

Rohr is expected to make his final cuts to the squad after the England match, needing to drop two players before travelling to Russia with his final 23.

The Super Eagles will be making a sixth appearance at the World Cup tournament in Russia where they will play Argentina, Iceland and Croatia in Group D.

The three-time African champions reached the Round of 16 in 1994, 1998 and 2014 but exited the 2002 and 2010 tournaments in the group stages.

Nigeria squad travelling to Europe:

Goalkeepers: Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna, Spain); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba); Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa)

Defenders: William Troost-Ekong and Abdullahi Shehu (Bursaspor, Turkey); Tyronne Ebuehi (Ado Den Haag, Netherlands); Olaoluwa Aina (Hull City, England); Elderson Echiejile (Cercle Brugge KSV, Belgium); Bryan Idowu (Amkar Perm, Russia); Chidozie Awaziem (Nantes FC, France); Leon Balogun (Brighton, England); Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa, Turkey)

Midfielders: Mikel John Obi (Tianjin Teda, China); Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor, Turkey); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (Las Palmas, Spain); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel); Joel Obi (Torino, Italy), Mikel Agu (Bursaspor, Turkey)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Victor Moses (Chelsea, England); Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai, China); Alex Iwobi (Arsenal, England); Simeon Nwankwo (Crotone, Italy)

NB: Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium) travels to undergo further medical tests.

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