By Duro Ikhazuagbe
Out of the four London-born players with dual nationalities on the radar of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Bukayo Saka, 18, appears to be of more interest to England as Arsenal Manager, Mikel Arteta Wants him to pick the Three Lions ahead of Nigeria.
The other three player include; Queens Park Rangers’ Eberechi Eze, Ademola Lookman (RB Leipzig) and Ovie Ejaria (Liverpool).
Speaking at the weekend, the Gunners gaffer, Arteta, despite insisting that making the choice of choosing between England and Nigeria rests with Saka and his family, said; “Absolutely (he is good enough to play for England) – and he’s very clever to make the right decision, as well.”
Arteta also admitted that Saka has not come to seek his opinion on the matter.
“He hasn’t come to me with that so for now I will leave it totally independent with the player and his family as they normally have a big say with their background, their culture and where they are coming from. I don’t want to step in there,” stressed the coach of the north London club.
The Hale End Academy product whose first team career at Arsenal got wings with the restart from the Covid-19 lockdown, also admitted making a choice between Nigeria and England will be a tough one for him.
Saka told Sky Sports at the weekend: ‘It’s a tough choice. I’m happy to have represented England at youth level but I’m also proud of my Nigerian heritage from my parents.”
If Saka who has played for England’s Under19s accepts to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Alex Iwobi, Victor Moses and Shola Ameobi who all featured for the youth teams of England before accepting to switch to Nigeria, the move with be an addition of quality to the Super Eagles.
Just in the recent past, Chelsea and England duo of Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham have previously turned down a chance to play for Nigeria.
Smarting from that volte-face by Tammy and Tomori, NFF’s President, Amaju Pinnick said in an Instagram chat recently that Nigeria is not ready to go looking for any player not willing to wear the country’s green and white colors.
“Saka is an excellent prospect but we have other players in his position who are playing so well.
“We have talents everywhere so we won’t beg people to play for Nigeria. It is about ardour and fervour, If it’s their desire and they merit it, they’ll be given a chance to represent Nigeria,” stressed the NFF boss who also doubles as a CAF Executive Committee member.