The Nigeria national team keep knocking for England young stars


England are facing tough challenges to keep Dominic Solanke and other young stars from the Nigeria national team says Aidy Boothroyd

The Football Association are facing a battle with Nigeria over the international future of some of England's best junior players, with the Super Eagles on the verge of World Cup qualification.

Aidy Boothroyd, the England under-21s head coach, has admitted there is a genuine fear that many of the FA's leading junior team youngsters could be poached by Nigeria before next summer’s tournament in Russia.

Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham, Liverpool’s Dominic Solanke and Sheyi Ojo, Everton’s Ademola Lookman and Tottenham’s Josh Onomah are all eligible to play for Nigeria despite representing England at various age groups.

Nigeria have already approached Abraham and Ojo over potentially switching allegiance, while Lookman was targeted before talks with the FA in which he agreed to commit his future to England. Abraham, on loan at Swansea, is also understood to have made clear he wants to represent England but Ojo’s future is uncertain.

Lfc rumour
Dominic Solanke and tammy Abraham
Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi has already opted to play for Nigeria's senior team and qualification for the World Cup will be assured if they defeat Zambia at home on Saturday.

Boothroyd said: "Nigeria are trying to get as many players as they can and you can't blame them because we've got some good players.

"There was talk about Tammy, while Sheyi Ojo is another and they might still be trying [to make him represent Nigeria at senior level], you just don't know. It's a hard one because I can't guarantee they are going to play because the group is so good.

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“Tammy didn't start the game before last and that's just one of those things. Perhaps other countries might see that and try and get into him, promise him the world and get him in the first-team before you know it.

"But these are lads that have played for England and have an affinity with us and a relationship. There is a pathway and I can always pick the phone up and speak to them.”

Dual-nationality is now a major issue for national associations, with England's pool of talent scouted by the other Home Nations as well as the origin countries of families who emigrated within the last generation.

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