Derby County manager Frank Lampard has revealed that the Championship side are close to signing former Super Eagles defender, Efe Ambrose, but refused to make any categorical statement of the star’s prospects of sealing a contract. Rather than speak in affirmative terms about the chances of Derby adding Ambrose to their squad this month, as a free agent, Lampard stressed that he will not want to jump the gun in speaking at length on the matter.
The former Chelsea star, who already has Nigerian-born defender, Fikayo Tomori is his team, is staying cautious over comments about Ambrose, who has played for Kaduna United, SC Ashdod of Israel as well as Celtic and Hibernian of Scotland in the past. Ambrose, though would be banking on facts to follow Tomori as the next Nigerian stopper in the squad that once had ex-Eagles defender, Taribo West on their cards.
Ambrose’s hope will be hinging on the fact that Derby turned their attention on the free agent market after their reliable stopper, Curtis Davies underwent surgery on a ruptured Achilles tendon. Ambrose made himself available for a deal, after he triggered a clause in his contract and executed his release from Hibernian, which he earlier joined on loan from Celtic in February 2017 and then made it permanent.
Lampard confirmed that Ambrose is already training with The Rams at Pride Park and acknowledged that a deal is in the offing, but stopped short of making a final verdict on the stopper’s expected signing.
Ambrose was a member of the Nigeria national under-20 football team at 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada. He later represented Nigeria U-23 and played two games at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
He was called up to Nigeria’s 23-man squad for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. In the Africa Cup of Nations, Ambrose played five out of six games for Nigeria, playing in the right-back position, including the final which he started. After the tournament, Ambrose was named in the 2013 African Cup of Nations Team of the Tournament. Ambrose says winning the Africa Cup of Nations was his biggest achievement and one of the greatest moments of his life.
He was selected for Nigeria’s squad at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Ambrose has not been selected since 2016, due to him losing his place at Celtic. He played regularly for Hibernian during the 2017–18 season, but was not recalled for the 2018 FIFA World Cup squad. This decision was criticised by former Nigeria manager Samson Siasia, who felt that Ambrose’s experience would have been useful