Folarin Balogun this week refused to rule out that he could be the one who got away for Gareth Southgate, telling Sky Sports he’s ‘undecided’ about his international future.
The 21 year old responded to the latest England squad with the tweet, ‘Go where you are appreciated’.
Many have speculated this week that’s exactly where he has gone ….where he’s clearly appreciated ….to America ….. at a time where he could be playing for the Three Lions Under 21’s.
He informed Lee Carsley he needed to rest a minor injury but that hasn’t stopped him from flying out to Florida.
Let’s just say the USA camp are not shy about adding to the speculation, with caretaker coach Anthony Hudson confirming the two met this week and ongoing talks are planned.
The striker has represented both England and the US in their under age groups, but most recently England, and he refers to London as his home, which was where he was raised.
His parents are Nigerian meaning he has three countries he could represent.
He qualifies for the US based on place of birth.
Despite having never lived there since the age of two, their soccer federation is being pressured to tempt Balogun with the prospect of being one of the faces of the next World Cup, which America will co-host, with all the endorsement deals that come along. That truly would be a once in a life time opportunity and is hard to say no too.
It’s a policy the US have adopted to tempt talent with dual nationalities to commit to them, big commercials and sponsorship offers, which will only intensify when the 2026 Would Cup starts.
If he is simply turning his back on England because he feels overlooked that can be seen in different ways.
He has confidence and is simply backing himself, telling himself he can compete with the likes of Harry Kane (and our manager has spoken of his confidence), or the praise he’s getting in France has got to his head and he thinks he’s better than he is?
This is the same player who could only score three times in the Championship last season.
Arteta will be watching intently.
While the loan to Reims was designed for the youngster to get first team football, his boss will also be monitoring his attitude.
He’s competing with the likes of Mbappe for the Golden Boot in Ligue 1, so of course the loan has been a success.
Yet there’s a different scrutiny playing for a mid-table French club compared to potentially the Champions of England.
If he thinks 17 goals in France means he should be jumping the England squad, what’s his attitude if he finds the net in the Champions League?
That’s the next part of his development.
Can he cope with playing in an environment each week where the expectation is mus- win and the pressure is on you to get goals – and if not why not?
Arteta has spoken during the process of extending his contract, it was apparent the then teenager’s self-belief and ambition to be at the very highest level.
Part of our academy since the age of 8, he’s grown up being told how special his talent is.
There is through a difference between confidence and arrogance.
There is nothing wrong with believing one day you will represent England in a major tournament, but to throw your toys out of your pram and consider another nation based on your thinking after your first proper season of first team football, that you have a divine right to be in the latest squad, that’s petulant.
To put that into perspective, Ivan Toney has 16 goals in the Prem and awaits his first cap, Tammy Abraham’s 27 goals in Italy were not enough for him to be on the plane for Qatar.
Arteta puts a lot of credence on a players personality and morality.
He wouldn’t be impressed if Balogun has a sense of entitlement, or if he is basing his international career on financial gain.
I’m not saying that is the case. Only he knows in his heart what he feels for each of the three nations.
Even Matt Turner said when trying to convince his teammate to join him, that the USA has to be in his heart.
Maybe it is but that’s not the impression he’s been giving.
Since a toddler, he’s lived, gone to school, played football, etc, in England, trained and nurtured by a English club.
I can understand players who get to a certain age who pick one nation, maybe because they realise it’s unlikely they will play for another.
For example, I can see Eddie Nketiah eventually accepting invites to represent Ghana due to being low down in England’s pecking line of strikers.
Yet, if Balogun wants to play for England and he clearly thinks he’s good enough he just needs to be patient.
The FA have too many great players that they don’t need to woo or sell themselves to Balogun. Nor should they.
Balogun needs to follow his heart.
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Nothing petulant about being opportunistic and he might think he won’t get another opportunity to represent a big nation
Sports are dynamic, so let him take his chances if he thinks he’s ready for it
However, I would wait for England if I were him, because of the upcoming Euro. Southgate might want to try him out soon and representing the US means he will miss the Euro, which is way more popular than CONCACAF and Copa America
Does it really matter which country he plays for? Arsenal is an international club that has players from all over the world. Lets not criticize the young man on where he wants to play. It does not matter to us.
‘Balogun needs to follow his heart’ is criticism?
You sound like you didn’t read the writeup. Dan is actually criticizing Balogun for the wrong reason.
@Clive is spot on
English internationals are highly sought after in EPL, English fee adds to sell value
Why should he wait? International football is just another meaningless distraction from his club, another pointless hurdle to overcome in a great young footballer’s life and career so why should he sweat it. If England wanted him they should have picked him for the senior squad now. Saying he should be patient does not reflect the experiences of Le Tiss or many other outstanding past players. International football is just a parasitic curse on the club game there to make money for FIFA and it’s backers. Flo, don’t bother. Don’t be fooled into thinking any Gooner gives a sht what stupid country you play for!
First of all I have to say that your tone is very harsh. I also don’t think international football is bad like you’re saying. No trophy has, or ever will come close to the World Cup in terms of prestige. And you might not agree, but many players feel more connected to the jersey when playing for their national teams than their clubs. That said, I do agree with your main point, which is that he should not wait for England. There’s a golden opportunity before him and he should take it without a thought. I don’t agree with the ideology Dan is portraying in the article
I haven’t seen any petulance or arrogance when I’ve watched all the recent sky interviews he’s done, but I do see confidence and belief in his own ability. Even when he said this week he’s good enough to play table tennis at the Olympics, he had a cheeky grin on his face. I agree he should follow his heart and shouldn’t be pressured into playing for a particular country, or criticised for whichever country he chooses.
I think he should be criticized for his tweet and not for which nation he wants to represent. Do you know how many footballer’s international careers would have turned out differently if they chose another nation? England has too much competition and he probably know he won’t get in the team until Harry Kane retires. How old would he be by then? Maybe 26. Southgate is extremely loyal to his trusted players and if I was Balogun, I would play for the USA cos Nigeria already has Osimhen
The USA doesn’t actually have a decent striker right now and if Balogun decided to go with them he’d be quite a big hit with the fans, get sponsorships, make loads of money, be the face of the USA team & play in the World Cup. Does it get any better for a young footballer?
Not my opinion, but that of another well know Arsenal blogger.
Not just my opinion. but that of another well-known Arsenal blogger
I live in the States, and I can tell you Balogun walks into the starting lineup with USA national team.
We have some fine young players in the squad; Dest and Robinson as fullbacks, midfield of Musah, Adams, and McKinney really gave England a run for their money in the World Cup.
Adding Balogun to the attack would be fantastic, and he fits right into the age group; quite similar to what Arteta is building with us at Arsenal.
I hope he does decide on the USA, his actual place of birth.
Don’t forget our own Trusty who’s killing it at Birmingham! I think hell be USA regular soon enough
You are right about Trusty! USA will have a good squad when they host the next world cup.
They will be a team that can do some damage in the tournament, and having a home crowd will be a squad others should not overlook.
Don’t be surprised if they knock out some established teams in the tournament.
I am a proud English woman so I hope he chooses England but he should choose by his heart
Balogun is a warrior that is the meaning of his name in Yoruba language in Nigeria, I believe he his a star in making and he will shine in any country he wish to play for be it Nigeria England or United state.
It’s not about following his heart, but all about where he would be most appreciated as well as played. Both Grealish and Rice, who are Irish, chose England over Ireland, more than likely due to a better chance of winning silverware and more prestige. It had zero to do with where they were born…Jus sayin 🙄
If Balogun has smart people in his corner, surely he will be urge to choose the USA over England.
It makes lots of sense for his personal career, lots of Brazilian has been doing that for some time now, as they wouldn’t stand a chance to be even in the pecking order.
Representing one country gives a different level of personal fulfillment and accomplishment some of us may never understand the prestige and honor that comes with it.
Choosing to represent England will makes that a more unlikely dream.
Some dishonest international managers calls up a player only once and by doing so make said player ineligible for representing another country he would have been welcome with open arms.
It’s a very easy decision, Choose USA and play choose England and hope.
Plainly, to DAN SMITH, international football matters and is why he gets so worked up about what country Balogun may choose.
To me, international football is just a boring interlude between Arsenal and other Prem games and TBH, most of it bores me rigid.
I could not care less which nation ,if any, Balogun chooses and rather hope that NONE of our players ever play for their nation , though that is a useless hope, as to THEM it matters immensely.
But then, THEY, are not, in the main, addicted to whichever club pays them so handsomely , whereas we on JA, ARE!
“…rather hope that NONE of our players ever play for their nation … ”
If only you knew that football is the only thing that unites everyone in some countries, you will never speak of international football like this. I wish you would live in some countries in Africa and experience first hand what I’m saying
dgr8xt, I said nothing about what others ,think save only DAN.
I FIRMLY agree that in many countries, many of them in Africa, football is more of a religion and unites people.
Why do you assume, incorrectly,that I DO NOT KNOW THAT?
What I HOPE, IS NO REFLECTION ON WHAT MANY OTHERS THINK and I never said, nor even implied that it was!
SO WHY DO YOU THINK THAT I AGED 71, have as little real life experience as many on here do ? If you DO think that, you are as wrong as it is possible to be!
jox fox, you seem to be too much “obsessed”, sometimes with very “trivial matters” in life and particularly about the writers and commentators here. Don’t complicate life, chill out and take easy…it’s only football!
Jon, I really must say, for someone who takes such enjoyment out of belittling others’ posts, and particularly their style of writing, your grammar really isn’t as good as you think it is, and your style speaks of someone with a disproportionately high opinion of themselves whilst simultaneously lacking the depth of character to realise your own limitations.
Ben, you are spot on mate! There are those keyboard bashers sitting in a free wifi zone somewhere, who always think they are too big for their boots! Simply frustrations!
It drives me crazy! When someone posts something that doesn’t interest me I just don’t read it.
I have made no claims to know what you are thinking, I merely made an assertion based on your predisposition for superfluous verbosity. This is a football blog, mate. People write things about Arsenal and by doing so invite others to comment on it. All you do is criticise other people’s content whilst shoehorning in the latest fancy word you probably heard on “The Chase” and had to look up. Just let people write their stuff and stop harping on about how it you can’t understand why people want to talk about things you don’t like. Just don’t read it! You can tell from the title of the article whether it’s going to be something that interests you, so the fact that you seem to appear in every thread rehashing the same old nonsense just tells me that you do it simply because you like belittling people. And the manner in which you do it feels utterly contrived, with the persistent misplaced use of ALL CAPITALS as if to ram home some point you’re trying to make. It’s boring.
Couldn’t agree more Dan. One thing to have a sense of entitlement. But to the then post on twitter, sounds a bit to big for your boots syndrome.
Sounds a little bit like a young player believing his own hype. That seldom ends well. I really wouldn’t place not being picked by Southgate as any sort of measure by which to affect your future. Gareth, contrary to his words, has demonstrated he absolutely picks his favourites and current form or even playing for you club has zero to do with it. Southgate is an awful manager who is wasting some of the best talent any England coach has ever had to work with.