Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun has revealed he is open to play for Nigeria despite having represented USA and England at youth level.
- Balogun was born in USA to Nigerian parents
- Has already represented USA & England at youth level
- Remains eligible to play for the Super Eagles
WHAT HAPPENED? The 21-year-old, who was born in the United States to Nigerian parents but later moved to England, is eligible to represent all three nations at international level.
He first played for England U17 during the 2018 Uefa European U17 Championship and on August 2018, he accepted a call-up from the United States U18 team for a tournament in the Czech Republic.
In 2019, he once again appeared for the England U18 team in Dubai and later the U21 side. Though he is yet to play for Nigeria, Balogun has left his options open to each of the three countries regarding international selection.
WHAT DID BALOGUN SAY? “Above everything, I feel English, but I also have an American side, because I have family in New York and I love going there,” Balogun said as quoted by L’Equipe.
“I have my grandmother and cousins in Lagos [Nigeria], even if I haven’t been there since I was very young. My mother sometimes speaks to me in Yoruba and it is important to me.
“Just like my future at club level, I am not closing any doors regarding international selection. All options remain open.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: After failing to nail a starting role in the Arsenal squad under Mikel Arteta, the youngster was loaned out to Ligue 1 side Reims at the start of the current campaign.
He has been the star player for Reims having scored six goals from 11 matches in the top-flight. Before moving to Reims, Arsenal had loaned him out to EFL Championship side Middlesbrough for part of the 2021-22 campaign.
At Middlesbrough, Balogun finished the season with three goals from 18 appearances.
WHAT NEXT FOR BALOGUN? He was in action for 90 minutes as Reims battled to a 0-0 draw against Lorient in a Ligue 1 contest at the Stade Yves Allainmat – Le Moustoir on Saturday. He will hope to continue having a starting role when Reims take on Auxerre in the next fixture at Stade Auguste-Delaune II on October 23.