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‘Legbegbe’ to all footballers of Nigeria origin waiting for England call-up

‘Legbegbe’ to all footballers of Nigeria origin waiting for England call-up
June 02
14:32 2018
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Your England Cap ‘Ti Lo’ like Mr Real sang. If you haven’t heard the song, please listen to it here.

I am very excited as I am on my way to Wembley to cheer the Super Eagles. I hope they tear a strip off England. I will be Proudly Nigerian in the away end.

The only other match I desperately wanted to attend in the away end at Wembley was the Tottenham v Juventus match. That legendary Arsenal fan in the away end is forever my hero. The humiliation and flashback he has heaped on those lousy Middlesex guys will never end.

I hope today’s match is a cracker for Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi. I hope Ola Aina gets a decent run out too and I hope the big stage and other European countries can see what they are missing and appreciate the talents of Troost – Ekong, Leon Balogun, Bryan Idowu and Tyron Ebuehi. I am super delighted Leon will star in the Premier League next season. I hope he conquers England not in the same fashion as Zlatan Ibrahimovic is conquering the MLS.

Football fans in England are not in any doubt about the talents of Victor Moses. He is perhaps the next best thing to Kanu Nwankwo and Mikel Obi (in that order) in terms of Nigerian footballers deserving of accolades on the global stage. As an individual, I admire Jay Jay Okocha for his showboating footballing skills and general fine boy outlook to life but in terms of footballing accomplishments, Kanu Nwankwo and Mikel Obi are Nigeria’s standout big boys. Victor Moses is getting there.

With the turmoil Chelsea are likely to experience with the Roman Abramovich visa saga, with the spending power of Manchester City, Manchester United, and that of Liverpool and Tottenham (both fuelled by player sales), Chelsea are unlikely to buy big or win major trophies anytime soon. So Young Victor might be better advised to move to Italy or Germany or France to one of the bigger clubs where his attacking talent might be better expressed.

It is a sad state of affairs that this England squad or any that have been picked since Victor Moses’ breakthrough cannot find a space for him. He is better or equally as good as anything England has on the wings or as a wingback. The reason he has never been picked for a senior cap is beyond football.

Similarly with Alex Iwobi. If Alex was still waiting for an England senior call-up, he will now be a mammoth. Instead he has earned himself a few caps at senior level with Nigeria. He has probably unlocked a few financial clauses in his Arsenal contract because of his international career with Nigeria and the only way is up for young Alex.

Of all the players in the England U16 squad that Alex Iwobi played with when they defeated Scotland to lift The Victory Shield in November 2011, only two have had a sniff of the England Senior Squad. A Ruben Loftus – Cheek who has been miraculously selected ahead of Jack Wilshere and surreptitiously classed as a midfielder and Lewis Cook who is on standby.

These are the names of the players in the England U16 squad with Alex Iwobi in 2011: Angus Gunn, Freddie Woodman, Ola Aina, Max Clark, Niall Heaton, Kodi Lyons-Foster, Conor Ogilvie, Ashley Smith-Brown, Reise Allassani, Charlie Colkett, Lewis Cook, Conor Hunte, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Bryn Morris, Mason Bennett, Alex Kiwomya and Jordan Brown.

I will never be convinced that a player like Jesse Lingard is better than Alex Iwobi. Yet no way will Iwobi be on the plane to Russia with the Three Lions if he had not decided to play for Nigeria despite some last minute running around by England to persuade him otherwise. England were even so arrogant to say ‘there are no plans to fast track him into the senior squad’. Please see this story for background.

As with Victor Moses, the reason why Alex Iwobi was never even in the thoughts of the England selectors before the possibility of playing for Nigeria came up is beyond football.

I hope this will serve as guidance to players like Tammy Abraham, Jordon HighB, Ademola Lookman etc. You have a better chance of wining something at international level than you have with England. Do not take the promise of jam tomorrow from the England selectors. Learn from the experience of Wilfred Zaha, Alex Iwobi and Victor Moses and several other players who were capped once to make them ineligible for other countries and never to be selected ever.

While Alex and Victor are going to the World Cup in Russia (fingers cross no last minute injuries), Tammy Abraham is playing against Qatari minnows in a provincial U21 tournament in France.

It is a tale of life. Some people value you more. Choose well.

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2 Comments

  1. Rotimi
    Rotimi June 02, 16:31

    Surely it is pure wickedness to cap a player once just to keep him playing for a different country which you refuse to acknowledge as your sporting equal anyway!

    Reply to this comment
  2. Latinio
    Latinio June 06, 16:35

    Excellent article and you make a good point about certain players electing to play for Nigeria. As you said these players are now going to a world cup instead of participating in the Toulon Tournament. But I would say that taking the view that so few players have representing England who won the ‘victory’ shield at U16 whilst correct ignores the fact that it is extremely difficult to progress to senior level. Players develop at different rates, injuries happen and some players as you said elect to represent other nations. Look at how many players have successful U17 world cups – hardly to be heard from again.

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