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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 February, 2004, 16:25 GMT
Abbey days
By James Copnall
BBC Sport, Tunis

Nigeria's George Abbey in action
George Abbey hopes playing for Nigeria can boost his career

Among the host of Super Eagles stars, George Abbey stands out.

For unlike most of his colleagues, Nigeria's right-back does not ply his trade in one of Europe's big leagues.

Instead, Abbey plays for tiny Macclesfield Town in the English third division.

Nevertheless, the 25-year-old has not looked out of place in Nigeria's star-studded team and is hoping the exposure gained from his performances can prompt a move to a bigger club.

"I have been playing regularly out here against big players, so I hope big teams can see I can play at the highest level," the defender told BBC Sport.

"My contract is up at the end of the season, and I am looking to play in the Premiership."

Playing for Nigeria is like a dream come true for me
George Abbey

Abbey, who has a Nigerian father and a Welsh mother, grew up in the eastern Nigerian city of Port Harcourt along with fellow Super Eagle Joseph Yobo.

The pair became team mates at Port Harcourt's Sharks FC, where Abbey played between 1996 and 1998.

The right-back, who has started all five of Nigeria's matches at Tunisia 2004, then travelled to England in pursuit of a professional career.

He had trials with a number of clubs until Sammy McIlroy, the manager then in charge of Macclesfield Town, gave the Nigerian a two-year contract.

And Abbey was joined in England by Yobo when the former Marseille player signed for Everton in July 2002.

The two former team-mates have been inseparable in Tunisia, sharing jokes, a mobile phone as well as a hotel room.

When Yobo was considering a move to Everton, Abbey had advised his friend to join the club and in May 2003 Yobo returned the favour.

"I got my debut against Ghana last year because Joseph talked to [Nigeria coach] Christian Chukwu about me," Abbey explained.

"It is like a dream come true for me.

"Sometimes I look over at Jay-Jay Okocha and think wow! I grew up watching him play on television."

Abbey is now playing alongside his idol, but the 25-year-old hopes to be playing against him in the Premiership one day.

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