Sheffield Wednesday centre forward Atdhe Nuhiu hopes he can inspire a new generation of Kosovo footballers
Sheffield Wednesday's Atdhe Nuhiu hopesÂ his success on the international stageÂ will inspire a new generation of footballers in his home country of Kosovo.
Nuhiu played his part in helping the small Balkan nation finish top of their Nations League group, scoring in their 2-0 triumph over Faroe Islands last September.
Speaking to the Sun, the 29-year-old centre-forward revealed every match for Kosovo is a celebration after enduring the bloodshed ofÂ independence from Serbia which forced Nuhiu's family to flee to Austria.
Kosovo, admitted to UEFA and FIFA events just two years ago, have secured at least a play-off spot in qualifying for the 2020 European Championships.Â
Nuhiu, capped 13 times by his country, said: "For us (players) we are not just representing our country. It is our country, the kids that are looking up to us and thinking '˜there is the possibility I can be a professional footballer'.
"That possibility was never there before. You have a different type of responsibility when you play for Kosovo."
Big name players like Granit Xhaka andÂ Xherdan Shaqiri also have Kosovan and Albanian heritage and despite playing for Austria at youth level, choosingÂ Kosovo was a no-brainer for Nuhiu.
'Since independence, you can see how many from Kosovo or Albanian origin have stepped up and became really good players for a country with a population of two million people,' he said.
'That is the thing, it's a young country and the people are just used to suffering all of the time.
'Now when we win, or even when it's just game day, it's like a Bank Holiday. It's a big thing for the people.'