Diasporas find no attraction in Super Eagles as England set to cap Eze, after Balogun opted for USA
The NFF courted both players, who are eligible to play for Nigeria, for many years before they opted to represent USA and England respectively
Just a few weeks after Arsenal’s Folarin Balogun shunned the Super Eagles to play for USA another Nigeria born footballer Eberechi Eze has been called up to the England squad for the first time for next month's Euro 2024 qualifiers.
The NFF courted both players, who are eligible to play for Nigeria, for many years before they opted to represent USA and England respectively.
Eze, has been capped at U20 and U21 level, has been called up after spearheading Crystal Palace's dramatic upturn in results under manager Roy Hodgson, with the Eagles winning five and drawing two of their nine matches under the former England boss to end any lingering fears of Premier League relegation.
The 24-year-old, who is also eligible to play for Nigeria, was expected to be included in England's provisional 33-man squad for Euro 2020 two years ago but suffered an Achilles injury the same day as the squad announcement. "We've liked him for a long time," said Southgate. "He was very unfortunate just before the Euros. We were going to call him into a prep camp and he got an injury.
"He has finished the season very strongly, he can play in a couple of positions across that front line. He has high quality and bursts of speed to go past players with those dribbling skills."
Chelsea Raheem Sterling has been left out of the England squad.
England face Malta in Ta' Qali on 16 June, before playing North Macedonia at Old Trafford three days later.
The Three Lions top the early Group C table after beating Italy and Ukraine in their opening two qualifying matches in March.
Explaining the reasons behind his decision to leave out Sterling, Southgate said: "He is not happy with his condition physically, carrying a hamstring problem. He wasn't really in consideration."He doesn't think he is operating at the level he needs."