Nigeria and England tussle over Akpom’s international future

The Nigerian FA are attempting to dissuade Arsenal under-16 striker Chuba Akpom from pursuing his international career with England by attempting to encourage him to commit to the Super Eagles.

Akpom’s good form for Arsenal at schoolboy level saw him propelled into the England under-16 side this season despite him not being eligible to sign scholarship terms at the club until 2012. He impressed as the Three Lions retained the Sky Sports Victory Shield and is considered a promising player by the English coaches, having already been assured of a scholarship and subsequently a professional contract.

However, Akpom, who is of Nigerian descent, has seen his stock rise in recent months to the extent that the African country, who have monitored his recent performances, are keen to incorporate him into their set-up and intend for him to be named in their next under-17 squad, with the possibility that he will be propelled further up the ranks should he impress sufficiently.

Akpom is currently mulling over the proposal, but, if he was to commit to Nigeria then he would follow the lead of fellow Arsenal player Chuks Aneke, who succumbed to the Super Eagles’ advances, as well as several other Gunners youngsters, such as Emmanuel Frimpong and Samir Bihmoutine who have chosen to represent African countries rather than the Three Lions.

Akpom is one of several impressive schoolboys currently at the club. Jack Jebb, Austin Lipman, Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill and Isaac Hayden have all also represented England at under-16 level, with the latter poised to join Anthony Jeffrey and Zak Fagan as full-time scholars next season. Also accompanying them at London Colney will be Jon Toral and Hector Bellerin, recently signed from Barcelona, as well as fellow new recruits Serge Gnabry, Kristoffer Olsson and Leander Siemann.

49 comments

  1. they want to live with all the luxuries that england offers them, but they turn their backs on us and instead choose their ancestral home before giving the three lions a go? send them back to their war torn countries and see how they develope.

    arrogant gits.

    I’d understand if they did want kevin prince boateng did. Try’d for the German national team until his 20’s and only then turned to Ghana. Fair play to him, but thats not whats going on here.

    Not only that but every other season they miss the start of the run in.

    1. The UK benefited greatly and directly from African gold, diamonds, oil and labor, and much much else including waves of slaves producing Virginian tobacco, Jamaican sugar, fortunes for shipping companies, cheap cotton for the looms of Lancashire, and the New World gold (Brazil) and silver (Mexico and Bolivia) that financed the industrial revolution. So, really, get a grip mate. If an African nation manages to snatch a player or two this hardly re-balances things! Just outs your small minded chauvinism. Just sayin’

      Anyway, what “luxuries” were you referring to? To achieve much of anything in the UK one has to work pretty hard, and even for those who do luxuries aren’t easily come by, especially urban working class kids of color. Perhaps you were referring to that amazing education kids in the boroughs of Haringey, Hackney or Islington get in the schools, which rank among the lowest in the UK, which in turn ranks among the lowest of the ‘developed’ nations. That’s part of Arsenal’s catchment area, by the way. Moreover, Lagos has schools that leave those of Muswell Hill in the shade. If a 16-year old descendant of slaves in rural Mississippi chose Nigeria over the US Olympic team would you feel he had done over the nation that had done so much for him? Nationality and self-identity are complicated in this day and age, but I’d say he had a precocious sense of history, identity and of his place in a world that has been globalising since at least 1492, not 1992 (when I presume you were born).

      1. You need to brush up on your history mate. The slave trade was an African born market, it was Black Africans trading other Black Africans with the Americans not the British. There has never been slavery in the UK, we were too busy putting our own children up chimneys and down mines to bother taking Slaves from other countries. As for the products purchased from African countries, these did not come FREE a fair price has always been paid by Britain for any products it has imported and a hefty tax has always been applied by our government to ensure that money is readily available to provide, education and healthcare for the young, sick, elderly and infirm, as well all those who are prepared to pay into the pot once they have finished their education. I for one have no issue with anyone choosing to represent a country they feel affiliated too, however, it is very frustrating to see children that are born and educated here turning their backs on the very country that has provided them with the opportunity. My Grandfather always said “do not bite the hand that feeds you” it is something that stood me in good stead and is now standing my children in good stead. My youngest son is of mixed race, however, he was born here and will be raised here and i would be very disappointed if he chose to represent another country should he become a sportsman, even if that country is the homeland of his Mother.

      2. Apologies for taking up space here, but it would be irresponsible to leave the post of Arse1Engl2Brit3 as the final word so near the top of the comments section.

        For starters, Arse1Engl2Brit3, I completely respect your personal position on the issue.

        But your rendition of “history?” Now that’s another matter. Here’s a quick read: http://abolition.e2bn.org/slavery_45.html; a site I didn’t know about till you challenged me, but clearly supports some of my contentions. The rest is in libraries or sites supported by universities.

        None of this is to deny that Black Africans were also massively involved in the slave trade, or that slaves _did not_ work as chimney sweeps in the UK, but neither fact has any bearing on my point that the UK has played a huge role in Africa’s history, some of it laudatory, most of it to the continent’s economic detriment.

        As far as the cost of colonialism to Africa and the benefit to the UK, there is a significant body of historical scholarship out there – too numerous to cite. Get reading if you’ve got the time (kids take up a lot of one’s time, I understand), but it’s better than treating history as a set of personal impressions.

        Finally I am not talking about products purchased from Africa, as you are. That was not how colonialism worked. Those “products” – commodities, actually – were simply taken, if not for “FREE” then hardly paid for in any way that benefitted the future African nations. Ironically, prior to colonialism enslaved Africans _were_ paid for, just like commodities, which was the primary motive for other Black Africans to be so involved as slavers in the trans Atlantic slave trade in the first place.

    2. Agreed mate first of all it was Aneke now Akpom aswell, what a pair of turncoat bitches

    3. Another typically arrogant English reaction to people going back to their origin. Talking about war torn countries is a myopic view from someone I am sure know little about any other place apart from England. Remind me what part England played in the development of Owen Hargreaves? Please keep your cynical view to yourself. If the boys feels Nigerian let him play for his ‘original’ country.

    4. PLEASE go join the national front or nazis or something. Who are you to tell him what nationality he is? He’s hardly turning his back on the country only decided on youth level who he will play for! Many players switch at senior level AND HE HASN’T EVEN ACCEPTED NIGERIAS ADVANCES.

      I do hope these players DON’T read the comments of some of you keyboard warriors. Legit. It’s horrid. Say it to his face next youth game…

      Please refer to my last comment in return to your horribly idiotic post…

    5. jheeeez no 1 says anything when a lad raised in England decides to go play for Ireland Wales or Scotland racist much???

  2. The only minor annoyance bugging me is the African Cup of Nations should he choose Nigeria over England.

  3. i hope he stay with england, but if he decide to leave ……than good luck with nigeria, anyway england have many young players so it will not be an huge lost.

  4. I also hope that he stays with England but it is better that the FA find out now because it stops everybodys time being wasted in the long term, but if he does switch then from an England point we still have Aston Villa’s Jordan Graham and potentially Jack Grealish aswell.

    1. Jordan Graham is a left winger, not a striker. You could say that England have Afobe,Sturridge and Wickham(maybe Welbeck) for the next 10-12 years and of course Rooney is still 25.

      1. But it is better to have more options avalible than not, but it is Akpoms career at the end of the day and he must do what is best for himself whether that be playing for England or Nigeria

    2. you mean, Graham who has been called up to Ireland’s U15s and Grealish who has pulled out of England camps in order to play for Ireland?

      yea…great…

      1. Grealish turned up ill for the England trials last summer and was sent home by the FA coaches and according to his brother he is keeping his options open, as for Graham he played for the Irish U15’s last May but i would read much into that because so did James Milner when he was his age, also the fact that he keeps turning up to play for the England U16’s team should tell you that he seems to want to play for England

  5. He puts himself in a similar situation to Frimpong. We know that from a club point of view that Song will leave during the season for a trip to Africa for their cup. If Frimpong stays as an English player he is a shoe in to the Arsenal first team. If however he goes to the ACN then Arsenal will buy to supplement the position.possibly they might enhance their international career but it may well be at the cost of their club one.

    1. frimpong is now behind coquelin as the frenchman has pass a whole season playing first team in france while frimpong was injured.its fimpong turn to go on loan i think

    2. HE HASN’T EVEN DECIDED HIS SENIOR FUTURE

      he’s only deciding on youth future!!!!!!!

      tons of players switch after that so lets worry about that when it gets there…..

      Young players read this site can we not have some dignity? If you have something horrid to say say it to their face they’ve done nothing wrong…

      Drogba, Eto’o, Toure and co have done VERY well at top flights around the globe and they go ACN, if you’re good enough you’ll make it

  6. i think its wrong for the nigerian fa to step in like this age coz they had no part to play in his development so i kind of see what people are aggrieved about

    1. The EFA had little to do with his development too; beyond selecting him for the few games for England. It’s arsenal that has developed him, and now the NFA are willing to new help with his development.

    2. And Arsenal had little to do with Nasri before he came here. But he choose us anyway cus he wanted it. Pretty much the same thing. Nigerias national team will help to develop him and maybe its even better for his development when he goes to a new team with new faces and a place he will need to fight for hard when he relies thats the only national team he will be able to play WC with. And maybe his team mates from Nigeria makes him think how good life is in Arsenal and how many really really wants his place.

    3. Ha ha, it is wrong for Nigeria to step in? That’s his origin in case you don’t know! England used Owen Hargreaves at the world cup I seem to remember but his development was in Canada/Germany so what’s your point? As long as people ask that crazy question ‘where are you originally from?’ It’s best these boys play for where they are originally from, if they feel English, fine but if not let them do what’s comfortable for them.

  7. England did the same thing with Owen Hargreaves. Owen spent most his life Canada and went to Germany when he was a teenage and played for England when he was older. If the person thinks of himself as Nigerian then he should play for Nigeria or if he thinks he is English he should play for England.

  8. Off topic, but i noticed Miquel has received a call up for the U20 world cup. Are we likely to see anymore of our players getting call ups? Traore, Sunu and Coquelin are all eligible for France, Martinez for Argentina and Aneke for Nigeria. But what about England? JET, Watt, Bartley, Afobe and Freeman have got to be in contention, surely?

    By the way can anyone confirm if Deacon signed for Sunderland and if Brady has done a u-turn on Brislen-Hall now that Cruise has been released?

    1. Traore and JET are not eligible but the others are, usually England coaches don’t pick our players. Luke Freeman definately deserves to go. I can see Coquelin and Sunu going.

      1. I thought if 23 year old Fabrice Muamba is eligible for the U21’s, surely 21 year old Traore and 20 year old JET would be eligible for the U20’s. I see that Martinez has just been drafted in to the full Argentina squad for tomorrow’s match against Nigeria.

      2. nope U21s works differently, have to be 21 or under when qualifications starts which was 2 years ago. For U21s this season have to be born in 88 or later. For U20 World Cup have to be born in 91 or later.

      3. thanks for that, you learn something new everyday, even if it confusing. Still with what is going on at FIFA i am sure that is the last of their problems.

    2. I doubt we will get far at the U20 World Cup because we allways send scrub teams to that particular tournament

  9. Will Arsenal have any players in the England U20 squad going to the U20 WC in July?
    Kyle Bartley will be fit by then?
    Freeman?
    Afobe?

  10. I think the Nigerian Fa are making a mistake in trying to convice these kids to switch countries.
    It wont help there development and makes them think that they are already professionals even though they still have a long way to go.
    Anyway I dont understand these kids anyway I wouldnt make that decision in such a young age and would rather concentrate on trying to break through at arsenal first.
    A lot of these kids that have come out saying that they have a chosen the countries of the orgin wont make it here imo anyway and he sounds rather childish and stupid.

  11. James

    Chuba has said nothing of the sort I think Jeorge has just found out they’ve approached him…

    Even more so going to most u16s games I can say Jordan Brown and Chuba Akpom are two of the best young players I’ve seen so young in a long time and both of them are the nicest most humble of the bunch.

    Just read Chubas tweets today about Arsenal. Now can people please stop trolling and respect these players and their ability.

    1. Sorry I didnt mean Chuba.

      I meant players like Samir Bihmoutine and Nigel Neita.

    2. What type of player is Jordan Brown?

      And what do you make of Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill and Anthony Jeffrey?

      1. Would rather speak on twitter James as it’s easier but if you can’t then here’s your answer…

        Jordan Brown is a striker and quite simply all the players say one thing about him “if you give him the ball in or around the box you can be assured it will end up in the goal”

        I’ve never seen a more talented striker who has such as instinct of the net infront of him… The young players joke around calling him Rooney but I saw him more as Drogba, he’s only 14 yet big and powerful and fast over the first 10yards so that you give him the ball the defenders will be flat on their bum and he would of put the ball in the net.

        It goes to show with Jordan that even though in the u16s he gets played on the right of the front 3 (as Austin plays upfront) he still puts in performances. It is UNNATURAL to see a player playing 2 years above his age group yet still standing out not only that but holding his own… Very mature young boy

        What I like most about him and Chuba though is their attitude… Most players are mucking around in the holidays yet both of them keep trying to work keeping fit. Todays tweet by Chuba Akpom (Chuba10) displays his maturity and his amazing attitude. They are both Arsenal through and through. Chuba enjoys watching Barcelona but it’s an Arsenal shirt that makes him proud and Jordan although he loves players like Rooney again gives it his all in the Arsenal shirt and wants nothing else other than do him, his family, his friends proud for Arsenal…

        I expect big things for these 2 players.

        Ayjay and Brandon are both very good players as well. The whole class is special but head over heals I would say Brown and Akpom are the two i’m most excited for, simply as they mix arsenal skill with english/african (drogba?) grit in which they will constantly mix it up…

  12. Surely he’d rather play for England than Nigeria?

    As Sir Trev B always says: the Academy system wasn’t set up to act as a finishing school for foreigners.

    The same thing applies here.

    1. the academy system at club level serve the club not the country .
      anyway he is british but when you see the england youth team and their very poor coach ,well it s not a surprise he prefer nigeria where he has more chance to play.
      France have the same problem but they are producing more talent so its not really a problem that some prefer playing for theit country of origin. you win some you loose some,you have no idea if he will be any good later in his carreer anyway.

      1. Is it not fair to say his parents are Nigerian, he was brought up with Nigerian customs and however grateful he is to England he feels Nigerian, his whole family is Nigerian so can play for Nigeria?

        If anyone dares say now that he owes it all to England that’s bullshit. They owe him nothing. He’s a credit to society, his parents immigrated like most of ours at one stage, pay their taxes and are law abiding citizens…

        It’s his right now who he wants to play for although can we PLEASE stop victimizing him here?? He hasn’t even chosen who he will play for just like any MATURE person would is weighing up the possibilities, discussing with his parents and arsenal on WHAT will benefit him most as a player and WHAT is the right thing to do. He was VERY proud when he came home from the u16s as evident at games thereafter and on his facebook/twitter… I doubt he would leave although no one knows whats going on in his head and so on.

        just be VERY proud arsenal has players like him who spark off tussles between countries desperate for these talented young players play for them… Instead of discussing what he SHOULD do maybe we should be discussing how good he must be to spark a debate such as this?

        Its been revealed the scout has told him by the age of 17 they want to send him to the youth world cup and want to move him up the ranks to a team with Chuks Aneke….. He is a wonderful young player/professional and it’s THAT which we should be debating.

  13. Now i can understand where a lot of you guys are coming from but the fact of the matter is the English F.A don’t treat the Arsenal youth as they should imho so they deserve to miss out on talents such as Chuba. Don’t get it twisted people, i’m not saying this as a Gooner, but because i feel it’s so true. For example, why hasn’t Aneke got the breaks his talent so deserves? Has Bunjaku ever represented England? When Albania come calling for his services, is there gonna be outcry again? Why was Frimpong frozen out of England sides BEFORE he pledged his allegiance to Ghana? Why and HOW has Steven Caulker’s loan at Bristol City and Ben Mee’s 10 appearances on loan at Leicester brought their abilities to Stuart Pearce’s attention, leading to the England under 21’s boss deciding they are both a better bet than Kyle Bartley and what he produced on loan at Rangers where he played in (i think) two ‘Old Firm’ clashes. Where previously, Sheff Utd fans hailed him as a breath of fresh air and their ‘rightful captain’ – all in a year long loan spell. Moreover, and to take the utter fucking piss, Kyle hasn’t even ever represented the England under 19’s side. Am i missing something here? Why hasn’t JET’s ‘amazing’ abilities ever warranted a look-in at the same level? Because of a perceived attitude problem that he may have? Don’t make me laugh! I don’t rate Craig Eastmond much (i seriously doubt he’ll ever be good enough for us), but the fact of the matter is Craig has represented the AFC first team on four seperate occasions – twice in the PL, once in the F.A Cup and once in the C.C. Yet he has NEVER been close to any England youth setup whereas below average players such as Jack Cork has represented the under 21’s on 12 occasions. This is a player who has been in the shop window since 2006 with loans at Bournemouth, Scunthorpe, Southampton, Watford, Coventry and has just completed his most recent loan spell at Burnley. Apparently he is now on the verge of a £750,000 move to Southampton. These are just a handful of examples but i can assure you there are many more. I have F.A coaching badges and have witnessed, first hand, on my course how xenophobia and racism still plays some part in these things. Some people have no idea! Many English Gooners will be pissed about these things but to be brutally honest with you guys, the racist fucks at the F.A deserve heartbreak! I couldn’t care less if they spend the next two decades watching the likes of Frimpong, Aneke, Akpom and Bunjaku go from strength to strength with their national sides and sit back wallowing in their own self pity about what could have been – a bit like how they’ve spent the past couple of decades with regards to Ryan Giggs and the ‘Left-sided problem’ that England have had.

    1. The FA racist Lol if that where true then Noel Blake wouldn’t be the England U19’s manager would he, as for Aneke there is alot of competition in central midfield in his age group, as for Frimpong he was never frozen out he just wants to play for the country of his birth Ghana, only JET and Bartley especially the latter have the right to feel hard done by the FA coaches

    2. I understand your point but that is not because they are racist they just hate some clubs like Arsenal. When we had one of the best youh side ever to exist in England only 1 or 2 made the call up if i could remember. Our FA youth side was exceptional good and it will take a few years time before we see any teams that play like they did. I have no idea why a regular from league 1 shouldn’t be in the england youth setup instead of a reserve player that never show exceptional things in the reserves of city or something. That makes no sense at all. England needs to get new coaches that really want the team to play some brilliant football like Spain or France does. I think the national side tend to be more and more pass and run and hopefully some Arsenal players get a chance when someone else is not as good. That is also something they don’t do often. They stick with the same group of players and some are clearly not good enough to play high tempo passing.

    3. I understand your point but that is not because they are racist they just hate some clubs like Arsenal. When we had one of the best youth side ever to exist in England only 1 or 2 made the call up if i could remember. Our FA youth side was exceptional good and it will take a few years time before we see any teams that play like they did. I have no idea why a regular from league 1 shouldn’t be in the england youth setup instead of a reserve player that never show exceptional things in the reserves of city or something. That makes no sense at all. England needs to get new coaches that really want the team to play some brilliant football like Spain or France does. I think the national side tend to be more and more pass and run and hopefully some Arsenal players get a chance when someone else is not as good. That is also something they don’t do often. They stick with the same group of players and some are clearly not good enough to play high tempo passing.

  14. what some people are doing (hating on a 15 years old boy) is simply disgusting!!!! it’s a shame for arsenal for england to have guyslike you to support this club , who always and always will be the most international club in eng

  15. He was born in England.

    Also, I’m not sure the Aneke thing is 100% accurate. It was a Nigerian newspaper which broke the story and Chuks has never confirmed it himself.

  16. In fact, I’m almost certain the Aneke story amounts to nothing more than a rumour. He was supposedly going to be called up for the upcoming friendly against Argentina, but that has not happened.

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