Prolific Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun will not be making his debut for England U19 squad in September despite receiving a call-up last month.
The English Football Association has confirmed that Balogun has withdrawn from the Young Lions squad due to injury and his roster spot has been handed to Leeds United frontman Ryan Edmondson.
Balogun was among four Nigeria-eligible players named on the original roster by manager Paul Simpson, the others being West Ham loanee Ajibola Alese, Chelsea whizkid Faustino Anjorin and Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka.
Arsenal first team boss Unai Emery will be hoping that Balogun’s injury is not a big issue as the attacker is believed to be in his plans ahead of upcoming Cup games, having trained with the first team in the new season.
Aged 18-year-old and born in New York, he has played for England and United States at U18 level and was part of the Young Lions team that reached the semifinals of the 2018 U17 EURO.
With 25 goals to his name from 19 appearances in the U18 Premier League, Balogun was the top-scoring 17-year-old in English youth football last season.
Balogun was born in the United States to Nigerian parents and has played for England at youth level but says he is open to changing allegiances.
I haven’t yet declared who I will commit to internationally. I will be discussing matters with my parents and will then decide,” Balogun, who has scored 22 goals in 23 games this season, told the Arsenal website.
Nigeria have previously succeeded convincing several former England youth internationals like Sone Aluko, Victor Moses, Shola Ameobi, Alex Iwobi and Ola Aina to swap allegiances.
The player is keeping all his options open for the future.
“I was born in New York, so can play for the USA. My parents were born in Nigeria and I have been in England since I was two years old, so I can play for both those countries too!” he explained.
“I have several youth caps playing for England and I enjoy their style of play which is similar to Arsenal’s.”
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