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.