Arsenal youngster Alex Iwobi has had quite a busy week.
Having made his first Champions League start (at the Camp Nou of all places) in Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat to Barcelona last week, he kept his place in the starting eleven for the Premier League visit to Goodison Park on Saturday.
That game proved to be a decidedly happier occasion for the 19 year old, scoring the second goal in a vital 2-0 win for the Gunners.
Naturally, as footballing law dictates, that has been more than enough for some calls for the youngster to be included in the England international setup.
There’s just one small problem with that: Iwobi already has an international career…with Nigeria. Despite being born in Lagos, Iwobi qualifies for the English national side, and has in fact represented them at youth level in the past.
However, he made is full debut for Nigeria at the end of last year, going on to earn one more full cap.
He has also been called up into the squad for the Super Eagles’ upcoming African Nations Cup qualifier against Egypt – should he play any part in that, he could never represent England.
FIFA’s laws would allow him to represent England right now as his pevious Nigeria appearances came in friendlies – the governing body will only accept competitive games as a sign of international commitment.
The FA are, according to a report in the Mirror, desperate for Iwobi to withdraw himself from selection from this week’s games and therefore sealing off the prospect of ever again representing England.
Nonetheless, Iwobi’s uncle, former Bolton and Paris Saint-Germain star Jay-Jay Okocha, believes that, if given the choice, Iwobi will ultimately choose the country of his birth.
Speaking to website AllNigeriaSoccer, Okocha believes his nephew will play this week and commit his future to Nigeria:
“He wants to play for Nigeria and that is why he is here.
“Iwobi is here in Nigeria for the match against Egypt, so hopefully if he plays a part, he can no longer play for England, that will be it,”
Despite Iwobi’s apparent rejection of the chance to play for England, Arsenal will still be well represented in the national side, with Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott included for this week’s friendlies.