Folarin Balogun has a big decision to make when it comes to his international future. He is eligible to represent England, the U.S. men’s national team and Nigeria. However, he must not make a rash decision when choosing which country to pledge his allegiance with.
Folarin Balogun has been in immense form for Stade de Reims this season, in Ligue 1 he has scored 17 times in 27 appearances. With such goalscoring prowess, many expected him to be called up to the England senior team but he had to settle for a place in their U21 side.
Following the squad announcement, Balogun posted on his Instagram account a story that read “In life, go where you’re appreciated.” It seems to be a very emotional response to the disappointment of not being included in Gareth Southgate’s England team.
The Three Lions squad included Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and Ivan Toney as striking options. Rashford has since pulled out of the side but still Balogun was not chosen to replace him. This seems a strange decision to leave your side with just two out-and-out forwards ahead of big European Championship qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine.
Balogun will still get his opportunity for the U21s against France and Croatia. They have the European Under-21 Championship this summer, so it may be that the Three Lions are keeping him with the team ahead of this tournament.
England has had players switch their international allegiance in the past due to a lack of game time. Michail Antonio was called up to the squad but did not play and has since gone on to play for Jamaica. Wilfred Zaha made two appearances for the Three Lions but now represents the Ivory Coast. Southgate must make sure that his side does not lose another very talented player.
The USMNT would be quick to snap up Balogun if given the chance. Interim head coach Anthony Hudson revealed that talks are ongoing with the player. He is also eligible for Nigeria, so representing the African side could also be an option for the player.
After such an impressive spell at Reims, you would expect that Arsenal would be doing all they can to make sure that Balogun stays with them for next season. Especially as their first-choice striker, Gabriel Jesus missed a portion of this season due to injury.
However, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, AC Milan are interested in the player. After an impressive season in France, Balogun must build on this and ensure that he gets regular playing time at the right club for him.
If he is to get noticed by Southgate, it might be best for Balogun to be playing in the Premier League. As Tammy Abraham at Roma was also not included in the England squad. Jude Bellingham is the only player in the Three Lions side who plays for a team outside of England. However, Balogun must ensure that Mikel Arteta would give him sufficient game time.