Our young midfielder was ever-present for Algeria in the group stage of this summer’s tournament – just six months after making his Premier League debut following his elevation from our Development Squad ranks.
And with the start of the new Premier League season now less than three weeks away, the 19-year-old is eager to put his experiences in Brazil to good use going forward.
“I think personally it gave me more experience and more confidence and I’m really proud to have played at the tournament,” said Nabil. “Now it’s a new season and I have to move forward, to improve more. We’ll see what the new Head Coach wants from me and I’ll continue to work hard and to learn even more.”
Nabil’s prominent role in his nation’s matches against Belgium, South Korea and Russia in the World Cup group stage meant it came as a surprise to some when he was left out of the starting line-up for the round of 16 clash with Germany.
But, after watching from the bench as the eventual tournament winners were taken to extra-time, he says his overall experience at the showpiece event means he can approach the forthcoming domestic campaign with renewed maturity.
“I was fully behind my team when we played Germany and all the players did amazingly well,” said the midfielder, who saw his side run the Germans close before succumbing to a 2-1 defeat. “We showed what Algeria is about. We’re about spirit, we never give up, and we fight against any opponent. We weren’t scared of Germany. Everyone was talking about how big Germany are as a footballing nation but we weren’t afraid of them and we showed that. We paid them respect.”
Away from the matches themselves, Nabil was impressed by the carnival atmosphere he experienced while travelling with the squad through Brazil – not to mention the fantastic reception the team got on their return to Algeria.
“We travelled a lot during the tournament,” he continued. “We stayed at Sorocaba in Sao Paulo and travelled two days before every game. The atmosphere was fantastic. Everywhere you looked there were people clapping you and there were different countries’ flags on buildings everywhere. You could look at a particular building and say ‘this is a building where the people support Germany’ or Algeria or whoever just by the amount of coloured flags outside.
“We knew before the World Cup that the Algeria fans were willing us to go through and when we did it, they gave us something back through the reception we got when we returned. We always knew they were behind us.”