Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Arsenal’s Balogun Finally Decides Country To Represent, Snubs Nigeria

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Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun has chosen to represent the United States national team after rejecting a future with England and Nigeria.

FIFA confirmed on Tuesday it has approved a request by the US Soccer Federation to change Balogun’s national eligibility from England, the country he has represented at youth level.

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Balogun, born in Brooklyn, New York to UK-based Nigerian parents who were holidaying in the United States at the time of his birth, has been in demand after a breakout season in France on loan to Reims from Arsenal. He has so far scored 19 goals in the French Ligue 1.

“My parents were on holiday there for a few months because we have family in New York,” Balogun said in an interview with the Ligue 1 website this season. “But very soon after I was born, we all moved back to London.”

Balogun, 21, also acknowledged: “London is my city, it’s where I grew up, where my friends are, and if people ask me where I’m from, I say I’m English. But, yes, I am a mixture of all these cultures.”

Balogun’s decision to represent the United States comes five weeks before England plays in the Under-21 European Championship being hosted by Romania and Georgia. The English Football Association also had to consent to the change of eligibility.

READ ALSO: My Legacy At Man City Exceptional Already — Guardiola

FIFA rules allow players to change national eligibility before playing in a competitive game at senior level.

The US courted Balogun on a visit to Florida in March and can select him for the CONCACAF Gold Cup which it hosts from June 24 to July 16.

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Photo Credit: Getty

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