Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka Chooses England Over Nigeria
The hopes of having Bukayo Saka play for Nigeria may have been extinguished following the smart move by England coach Garry Southgate to hand the Arsenal youngster a call-up to the Three Lions.
Saka and two others, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Harvey Barnes, were handed their first senior England call-ups on Thursday ahead of England’s UEFA Nations League ties against Belgium (Oct 11) and Denmark (Oct 14).
Saka, 19, had initially suggested he could consider playing for Nigeria even though he had featured for the English youth teams since he is proud of his parents’ heritage.
“I’m happy to have represented England at youth level but I’m also proud of my Nigerian heritage from my parents,” he said in an interview with SkySports a few months back.
“We haven’t been picked by any team so it’s about staying humble and when the time comes we’ll make the decision,” Saka added.
With the Three Lions invite now coming through, Saka has expressed delight at the chance to play for England ahead of Nigeria.
He wrote on his Twitter: Honoured and grateful to get my first @england call-up
Among other accolades, Saka was voted Europa League Young Player Of The Season.
England squad in full
Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson (Manchester United), Nick Pope (Burnley), Jordan Pickford (Everton).
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolves), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Michael Keane (Everton), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Arsenal), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), Kyle Walker (Manchester City).
Midfielders: Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United), Declan Rice (West Ham), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton), Harry Winks (Tottenham).
Forwards: Tammy Abraham (Chelsea), Harvey Barnes (Leicester), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Danny Ings (Southampton), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City).