Brighton & Hove Albion of England defender, Leon Aderemi Balogun has been vindicated in his assertion that he could not stay longer in the Super Eagles’ camp because he was injured, as his club’s coach, Graham Potter says the lad is not fit enough to lay this weekend in the English Premier League.
This comes just three days after Balogun left the Eagles’ camp in Ukraine unceremoniously, just few hours after he had been left out of the Nigerian national team’s stating 11 for the friendly against Ukraine, thereby raising speculation that he might have left in anger.
The speculation had even stirred further by reminders that the former Fortuna Dusseldorf, Darmstadt and SV Mainz of Germany stopper wa actually among the early arrivals at the Eagles’ camp in Dnipro, before Tuesday’s game, and he actually participated in every training session, only to plead to be allowed an early exit on the day of the match, after his name was not in the start list.
That created doubt about his genuine intentions, with feelers emerging hat Balogun is still miffed that he has lost his place in the Eagles starting line-up, as it was at the Africa Cup of nations, and again for Tuesday’s match, when West Bromwich Albion holding midfielder, Semi Ajayi was drafted to pair William Troost-Ekong in the heart of the Eagles’ defence.
However, at the height of speculation over Balogun’s real state of health, the Germany-born half-caste stopper has received a reprieve at his club, as The Seagulls’ boss disclosed during his pre-match press conference on Friday that Balogun is nursing tightness in his thigh and needs a day off to rest and recover fully.
The revelation by Potter that Balogun was in a race against time to be fit for Saturday’s EPL clash with Burnley, therefore, appeared to a large extent to have dismissed reports in the Nigerian media that Balogun deliberately withdrew from the Nigeria squad ahead of Tuesday’s friendly against Ukraine.
Potter said: ”Leon Balogun had a bit of tightness and needs an extra day, but apart from that everyone else has come back fit and ready from their national sides.”