Folarin Balogun’s switch to the United States on Tuesday prompted a lot of hand-wringing given the in-form Arsenal striker, who has scored 19 Ligue 1 goals on loan at French side Reims and seven in 13 for England’s Under 21 side, is at the start of a burgeoning career.
As such, it was perhaps a shock for many to see a highly talented 21-year-old who came up through the Three Lions set-up and has represented age-grade sides for years opt to reject Gareth Southgate’s side and instead switch to the US team.
Despite England’s strength – they lie fifth in the FIFA world rankings – there are plenty of valid reasons players change their international allegiance, be it which country they feel they most belong to, or the prospect of more chances with another nation.
Southgate may well be worried about losing several other young stars, including two talented Crystal Palace attackers, a pair of Newcastle wonderkids and a host of young stars at Chelsea – among plenty of others.
And below, Mail Sport looks at the starlets England may want to tie down before they follow Balogun in representing another country.
Folarin Balogun’s switch to the United States on Tuesday prompted a lot of hand-wringing
The Arsenal striker (above) spurned the chance to play for England, instead choosing the USA
Mail Sport looks at the other players Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate could lose in future
Eberechi Eze, Crystal Palace (Nigeria)
One of most eye-catching names on the list is Crystal Palace attacking midfielder Eberechi Eze.
The gifted 24-year-old has scored seven goals in the eight games since Roy Hodgson took over – excluding one Daniel Iversen own goal after his superb free-kick hit the bar – and is firmly back on England’s radar.
After being named on several squad long-lists in the past, Southgate may well want to see how he fares in the senior squad – given he has trained with Nigeria’s national team and former Nigeria boss Gernot Rohr admitted he contacted Eze every week.
Watch this space…
Michael Olise, Crystal Palace (France, Nigeria, Algeria)
Another Eagles star in Michael Olise also makes the list. The 21-year-old winger has excelled for the south London side this season, with only Kevin De Bruyne and Bukayo Saka besting his record of 10 Premier League assists this season.
The world is at his feet – and he is certainly spoilt for choice when picking his national team, born in England to a Nigerian father and a French-Algerian mother.
In March 2022,…