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Nigeria-eligible Folarin Balogun scores for England U21s - the Super Eagles must act fast or lose yet another star

September 28th 2022, 8:44:15 am

The Super Eagles have a chance to claim Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun ahead of England and the U.S.A but they must act fast

Folarin Balogun scored for England U21 against Germany

Folarin Balogun continued his fantastic run of form this season with yet another goal, this time for the England U21 team in a 3-1 win against Germany.

The 21-year-old striker converted with his left foot from what appeared to be a difficult angle but his quality shone through to draw the Young Lions level and put them on track for a comeback.

Perhaps it was poetic that on the same night, Nigeria lost 2-1 to Algeria in a friendly match, a game that could have used Balogun’s quality as he is eligible to play for the Super Eagles.

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Having shown excellent potential in the Arsenal youth team and in a few cameo first-team appearances last season, Folarin Balogun, affectionately referred to as ‘Flo’, was loaned out to Stade Reims to get more playing time.

The 21-year-old has instantly taken the French Ligue 1 by storm, proving that he is indeed capable of scoring consistently at first-team level just as he did in his youth days.

Balogun has scored five goals in eight league games for Reims so far, only Super Eagles striker Terem Moffi (6) and PSG duo, Kylian Mbappe (7) and Neymar (8) have scored more goals in Ligue 1.

He also has two assists to his name, making it seven goals and assists in eight games, a markable improvement on his poor loan spell at Middlesbrough last season where he could only muster three goals and assists each in 21 games.

His obvious quality and great form has of course led to speculation on his international future and the fact that he’s still scoring for England’s U21 team does not help clarify much.

Folarin Balogun was born in the United States of America to Nigerian parents but grew up in London, England where he moved with his family as a two-year-old.

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As a result, the young striker is eligible to represent all three aforementioned countries at senior level even though he currently plays for England U21s.

He has also played for England at U17, U18 and U20 levels having also represented the American U18 team.

His history with these countries puts Nigeria at a disadvantage in terms of Balogun’s senior national team allegiance but there is a chance to convince the youngster.

The Super Eagles could offer Balogun something England simply cannot, which is a fair chance and consistent playing time for a reputable national team.

Admittedly, his best option remains the United States as they are currently able to offer Balogun a starting berth at the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

That shouldn’t deter Nigeria from at least trying to add him to the national pool, Balogun is a player whose quality will prove useful to the Super Eagles.

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

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