Anichebe remains focused on Everton
Victor Anichebe is putting club before country in a bid to keep Everton's early-season momentum going - as well as his own.
Anichebe, born in Nigeria but raised in Liveprool, is determined to make the most of an injury-free run after getting over a series of setbacks that have stalled his career. The striker has been frustrated by two serious knee injuries and a groin problem during his time at Goodison Park, but has managed to get a run of games this season.
The 24-year-old has scored three times in seven league and cup games for Everton, prompting Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi to declare that he could be in the squad for the Africa Cup of Nations finals, which start in South Africa in January.
But the player himself is focused on maintaining Everton's impressive start to the season, which has seen them lose just one of their first seven Premier League games. David Moyes' side are fourth in the league as they prepare to visit bottom club QPR on Sunday, and Anichebe is aiming to sustain their push for a European place.
"The thing with Nigeria is I am a fan and I follow the games and the team have done really well to qualify," he said.
"They have a great bunch of players there but I'm concentrating on here because this is the first time I've stayed fit for a while. I am thinking about Everton; they have stuck by me and helped me get back fit, so I'm thinking more about cementing my place in the side. The national team aspect hasn't come into my head. I just want them to do well."
Sunday's opponents QPR have yet to win a league game this season, but Anichebe insists they cannot be taken lightly.
"I think we've done OK. It's been a good start to the season and everyone is on a high and is confident," he said.
"We need to carry it on though, not get ahead of ourselves and keep playing well. QPR are struggling, so it is going to be even harder because they need results - they've bought a lot of players and have a lot of expectation on them.
"They haven't really done so well, so I am sure they will look to change that against us and we need to be wary of that."