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Fikayo Tomori’s England snub is the latest lesson to multi-national footballers

September 29th 2022, 5:28:46 pm

Fikayo Tomori remains unable to get a game for England which should serve as a deterrent for players with multiple nationalities

Fikayo Tomori has been grossly underutilised by England manager Gareth Southgate

English central defender Fikayo Tomori has been one of the main subjects of discussion in the most recent international break but not for reasons he'd have wanted.

The 24-year-old was unused by manager Gareth Southgate in England’s games against Italy and Germany, even failing to make the bench on one of those occasions.

His inability to make it into the Three Lions team despite being arguably the best English central defender is an indication that the defender should have represented either Nigeria or Canada for whom he was also eligible.

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Fikayo Tomori chose to represent England by accepting a national team call-up to the Three Lions in October 2019 but little did he know it would be the start of a frustrating journey.

The then 21-year-old was an unused substitute in both games against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria in what was only the beginning of what would become a recurrent theme under Gareth Southgate.

It wasn't until the next international break that Tomori would finally make his debut, coming off the bench in the closing six minutes of a comfortable 4-0 win over Kosovo.

He would have to wait two years for his next national team call-up and was even left out of the EURO 2020 squad despite playing well for AC Milan.

On his return to the national team in October 2021, Tomori was only deemed worthy of 30 minutes in a 5-0 thrashing of Romania in England’s World Cup qualifier.

Despite being a stalwart for AC Milan en route to winning the Serie A title, Tomori remained out of contention for a spot for England, missing their next seven games having not even been invited for six of those games.

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His next Three Lions appearance was in June 2022, where he finally made his first start, three years after choosing to represent England in which he played 88 minutes against Italy in the UEFA Nations League.

It would also prove to be his last England appearance to date as he's been uninvolved in the three matches they have played since then, much to the surprise of anyone not named Gareth Southgate.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that Oluwafikayomi Oluwadamilola Tomori would have been a central figure for either one of the Nigerian or Canadian national teams has he chosen to represent them over England.

His situation is just the latest in a long line of hard lessons for 'Anglo-whatever' players, choosing England over other national teams almost never works out well in the long run.

Tomori’s case proves that excellence is not the only requirement to play for the English national team, being the best centre-back and only playing three games in three years is absurd.

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Even more infuriating is the list of players that have been selected and played ahead of Tomori in that period, Tyrone Mings, Conor Coady, Michael Keane, Marc Guehi, Joe Gomez and James Tarkowski amongst others.

Some of these clearly inferior players have played at the centre-back position multiple times ahead of Tomori in recent games, which makes one wonder if the snub by manager Gareth Southgate is personal.

AFP/AFP

There's no rationale that justifies this, the only consolation for Tomori is that he's still only 24 years old and Southgate will not remain England manager forever, perhaps someone that knows what he's doing will get the job and Tomori will get the minutes he deserves.

And for those who are at the international crossroads Tomori was in 2019, it would be wise to let his inability to get games influence their decision on what national team to commit to.

Tunde Young
Tunde is an experienced sports writer/journalist dedicated to promoting Nigerian excellence in sports

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