Gareth Southgate’s inclusion of Nigeria target, Tammy Abraham in England’s squad for the international friendlies against Germany and Brazil scheduled for November 10 and 14 at the Wembley Stadium appears to have ended attempts to make the teenager switch allegiance to the three-time African champions.
Abraham, 20, is a Chelsea player on loan at Swansea this season. The Camberwell-born player to Nigerian father was target of the Glass House in Abuja to reinforce Super Eagles ahead of next year’s World Cup in Russia.
Victor Moses, Alex Iwobi, Sone Aluko, Shola Ameobi and Ola Aina are former England junior players who switched their allegiance to Nigeria.
But in what appears a change of mind, the gangling lad who has represented England at the Under-19, Under-20 and Under-21 categories, denied in September that he has agreed to dump the Three Lions for Nigeria.
Though admitted meeting Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick who is his father’s friend, Abraham insisted he was available to be capped at the senior level by England.
Southgate seized that opportunity thursday by including Abraham in the squad to play Germany and Brazil in the November FIFA window.
This term Abraham has scored five times in 13 appearances for the Swans, including a brace in the 2-0 win over Huddersfield a fortnight ago.
Last season he was on loan at Championship side Bristol City and scored 26 times for the Robins.
Abraham has had a hand in five of Swansea’s seven league goals this season (4 goals, 1 assist), the highest ratio in the Premiership.
To express his happiness with the call up, Abraham took to Twitter yesterday afternoon to show his appreciation to Southgate and the England crew.
“Words can’t describe the feeling but truly blessed and honoured to be called up to @England seniors…thanks for all the messages,” observed the player who is one of the three new teenagers in thursday’s list.
Despite Abraham’s call up to the senior England team for the friendlies against Germany and Brazil, some Nigerians still believe it is not over yet.
A football analyst, Michael Olasupo told THISDAY thursday that FIFA new rule on eligibility has not ruled out Abraham from wearing Nigeria’s green and white colours.
“Article 18 provison 1, sub section a of FIFA Eligibility Rules, which says ” He (Player) has not played a match (either in full or in part) in an official competition at “A” international level for his current Association, and at the time of his first full or partial appearance in an international match in an official competition for his current Association, he already had the nationality of the representative team for which he wishes to play.”
Swansea Manager, Paul Clement denied having any say in Abraham’s invite to the Three Lions.
“I wasn’t involved in any discussion with Tammy about who he wanted to player for.
“I saw one report that I’d told him who to play for- that’s complete nonsense,” stressed the Swansea boss.
Clement is however confident that Abraham will cope well at the Three Lions. “I think he’ll cope well. He’s a confident young man. He needs to take it in his stride and stay grounded.
“His all-round game is developing, including back-to-goal and defensive positioning,” he said.
The Swansea gaffer is however excited with Abraham’s progress. “It’s very pleasing news to see someone we’ve brought to the club on loan rewarded with his first call-up,” said Clement.
The other new teenagers in Southgate’s call up include, Joe Gomez, 20, (Liverpool) and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 21, (Chelsea).
Regulars invited include Ashley Young, who last played for the national side in September 2013, is back in, Jamie Vardy also returns, but there is no place for strikers Daniel Sturridge and Jermain Defoe.
Tottenham’s Danny Rose is also included despite only one start since returning from a long-term injury.
Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke City), Joe Hart (West Ham – loan from Manchester City), Jordan Pickford (Everton)
Defenders: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)
Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Crystal Palace – loan from Chelsea), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Harry Winks (Tottenham), Ashley Young (Manchester United)
Forwards: Tammy Abraham (Swansea – loan from Chelsea), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Jamie Vardy (Leicester)