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Folarin Balogun: USMNT in talks with Arsenal star as Nigeria weighs option

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Folarin Balogun: USMNT in talks with Arsenal star as Nigeria weighs option
Image credit: Getty Images

Inform Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun is considering a switch of nationality from England in the wake of Gareth Southgate’s latest snub.

Balogun was not among the 23 players invited for England’s Euro 2024 qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine, but was listed in England Under 21 squad to face France and Croatia in March.

Balogun is currently in Florida after withdrawing from England U21 squad with an injury. The U.S. national team are in Florida preparing for their Nations League matches against El Salvador in Orlando on Monday.

According to ESPN, the interim coach of the U.S. men’s national team, Anthony Hudson confirmed he has spoken with Balogun about switching his international allegiance to the USA. 

Hudson said on Thursday:

“As I’ve said before, we’ve had dialogue. We’ve spoken. He’s out here having a bit of a break and then some training, and we’ve had some discussions.”

“I think it’s been good because it’s been an opportunity for us just to share about our program and who we are and what we do and that’s it. I hope we get the chance to speak to him again. It’s been good and I know a few of the guys have spoken to him as well.”

Hudson added:

“It’s been really important to make sure we’re doing all we can to engage with and, if there are any dual nationals out there that can help the team. 

“We need to move forward and connect and engage and get these guys and see where what they want to do and try and encourage them by showing what we’re doing. Hopefully, we get guys to come and come to us.”

Folarin Balogun

Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun is eligible to represent both Nigeria and the USA (Image credit: Getty Images)

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The 21-year old was born in New York and has mostly represented England at the international youth levels, but has featured for the U.S. under-18 team. 

With 17 goals in 27 appearances for Reims, Balogun is having a breakout season on loan in Ligue 1 and is in the race for the golden boot alongside Kylian Mbappe and Jonathan David, both on 19 goals.

Balogun is also eligible to play for Nigeria, with his parents coming from the South Western part of the country.

Sources in Nigeria say the Nigeria Football Federation is considering discussing a switch with Balogun.

The Super Eagles struggled in the last African Cup of Nations in Cameroon due to the absence of Napoli striker Victor Osimhen and were knocked out of the competition by Tunisia in the round of 16.

Super Eagles coach Jose Peseiro met with the NFF President, Ibrahim Gusau to discuss a possibility of meeting with the young striker and a contingent from Nigeria including Peseiro will be in France next month to watch Reims Ligue 1 fixture at Rennes on April 15, with an eye on 18-year old midfielder Lesley Ugochukwu who is a nephew of former Rennes and Nigeria centre-back Onyekachi Apam.

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