Who Are the Players to Snub Nigeria’s Super Eagles for England?

Who Are the Players to Snub Nigeria’s Super Eagles for England?
Credit: Icon Sport

The decision of Eberechi Eze to declare his international allegiance with England has hurt a lot of Nigerian football fans.

The Crystal Palace midfielder has also gone on to state that he has no regrets choosing England over Nigeria as it is the best decision for his career.

That is a familiar statement to Nigerian fans who have seen quite a number of players with Nigerian heritage declare for other countries.

England is one of the biggest beneficiaries of Nigerian talent. This article lists the biggest players who chose the Three Lions over the Super Eagles for their international careers.

Bukayo Saka

Arsenal's bright young star, Bukayo Saka, was born to Nigerian parents in London, England and had his football education at the Hale End Academy belonging to Premier League club Arsenal.

At the time of his incredible breakout in 2018, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) tried to convince the forward to switch allegiance to Nigeria after he had represented England at youth level.

In 2020, Saka would state that he has chosen to continue with England, stating their upward trajectory under Gareth Southgate as his reason for choosing to remain with the European nation.

It has turned out to be a smart decision for the 21-year-old leaving Nigerians wondering what could have been.

Tammy Abraham

Tammy Abraham's case is one that is considered controversial by many in the Nigeria football news media.

This is because the Chelsea academy youth product is the son of Bakumo Abraham, a close friend of then-NFF president, Amaju Pinnick. Both families were close and constantly kept in touch.

When Tammy Abraham became one of England's most sought after strikers, many believed that Pinnick had sealed the deal. However, the striker would choose England instead to the chagrin of Nigerians who questioned the many visits and lunches that Pinnick claimed to have with the player's family.

Fikayo Tomori

Fikayo Tomori is a centre back who, after graduating from the Chelsea academy like Abraham, was set for superstardom.

He was a regular feature for the young Lions and was expected to walk into the Three Lions setup especially after he won the Italian Serie A title with AC Milan in 2022. He had declared for England before then, however, disappointing Nigerian fans yet again.

He is now an afterthought for England but many believe he could return to the Three Lions squad in the near future.

Carlton Cole

This one is a blast from the past. The former Chelsea striker was active in the Arsenal days of Kanu Nwankwo and he admitted that he was approached by the NFF to represent Nigeria.

“I was called up by Nigeria but Chelsea told me that it was in my best interests not to go,” the former striker said. “I could have been playing alongside Kanu. I look up to him as one of the best players in the world.

https://twitter.com/CF_Compss/status/1645401313763553281?t=-JwcQrf0mAjUTVALowFSVw&s=19

“My father is Nigerian and my mother comes from Sierra Leone but I've never been a follower of Nigeria and my interest in African football is only occasional.

“I was born in England and consider that to be my country so I want to play for them.”

John Salako

John Salako is another blast from the past and he is the only Nigerian-born player to choose England. Salako was born in Ibadan and moved to England with his family in his childhood.

However, his performances for Crystal Palace as a promising youngster led the Three Lions to call him up. He made only five appearances for them before retiring.

He is regarded as a Palace legend and currently works as a coach and media pundit.

 

This article was most recently revised and updated 12 months ago

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