Arsenal youngster, Chuba Akpom, is set to commit his international future to Nigeria according to The Independent of London.
Although Chuba Akpom has represented England at most youth levels, he is set to join the list of English-born youngsters declaring to play for Nigeria. The Arsenal striker has been training with the Nigeria squad in Barnet this week, as part of the Nigerian Football Federation’s (NFF) initiative to recruit the next generation of young players.
The NFF has been pushing to recruit players for their 2018 World Cup and 2019 Africa Cup of Nations campaigns. Akpom is currently on loan with Brighton and Hove Albion in the Championship and seems likely to join Arsenal teammate and long-term friend, Alex Iwobi in playing for Nigeria.
The Independent revealed this week that after years of underperformance, the NFF is determined to make the most of its English-based players ahead of the 2018 World Cup and the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. They recruited Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi in 2015 and now believe that they have persuaded Akpom, his best friend and former Arsenal youth team-mate, to play for them too.
Akpom enjoyed his time with Nigeria this weekend and is now close to commiting his future to them. Akpom will likely be in Nigeria’s squad for their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa in June. Akpom will join Iwobi in a new generation of English-born or English-raised Nigerian players. Ola Aina, the Chelsea right-back who has played for England Under-20 level, was training in Barnet too this week and is also set to represent his parents’ country from this summer and beyond.
Eberechi Eze of Queens Park Rangers and Josh Maja of Sunderland were in training too and have not fully decided yet, but are both understood to be leaning towards playing for Nigeria. Fred Onyedinma of Millwall and Joe Aribo of Charlton are also expected to declare for Nigeria too. Ademola Lookman of Everton, who played for England Under-20s on Saturday, has not yet decided which country he will represent at senior level.