Monday, May 23, 2022

Arteta: Saka doesn’t need my help deciding between England and Nigeria

According to reports this week, Nigeria are set to make a big push to recruit Bukayo Saka in the coming weeks.

To date the 18-year-old, who was born in London to Nigerian parents, has only ever represented England at international level featuring for several age groups up to the under-19s.

Given his rapid progression at Arsenal, capped this month by a new long-term contract and the inheritance of the club’s feted number 7 shirt, there have been whispers of an England call-up and suggestions he could even make Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the delayed Euro 2020 tournament.

If that is to happen, the Three Lions might want to move quickly.

Nigeria have previous turning the heads of players who’ve worked their way through the ranks at St George’s Park. Ex-Gunner Alex Iwobi switched allegiance in 2015 and has since featured in the 2018 World Cup and the 2019 African Cup of Nations.

When asked about the situation, Mikel Arteta said it’s not something he’ll get involved in unless the player asks for his advice.

“If I get asked a question [by him], I can give an opinion,” the Spaniard said on Thursday. “Up to now, he’s not come to me with that.

“I’ll leave total independence to the players and the families because normally they have a big say because of their background and the culture and where they are coming from.”

Put to him that the teenager had the quality to play for either side, he added: “Absolutely, and he’s very clever to make the right decision as well.”

As things stand, international football is suspended while domestic and continental leagues finish their seasons. Matches are due to start again in September at which point Nigeria could pounce.

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I will encourage Saka to choose Nigeria because he has a better chance of regular international football.

Gooner Sam

Yes but with all due respect he would be playing with and against better players with England


Take a look at all Nigerian player’s that chose England over Nigeria, you can see clearly that they will only make first and second tournament and that will be the end,

So England will not be off Good to him,

No place like home it’s a word you have to apply brain on


Pick England there would be no Africa Cup of Nations and always back early from tournaments.

Red Cannon


Pep Arteta

I am sure he will take a look at Gabriel Agbonlahor and make the right choice.


I think he’s classes above him already.

Teryima Adi

Spot on?


If he has the ambition to Actually win anything he should pick Nigeria.


I’d disagree, with Liverpool winning everything and the youth teams dominance. England has experience winning things.

The hottest mass talent in football in in England at the moment.

Dave cee

That’s a good point. Maybe in a year or 2 we could see an England team with Sancho, Sterling, Foden, Saka, TAA, Mount and who knows who else, maybe even Eddie up top. There is a lot of really good talent coming through and a manager who seems ready to embrace a new generation. Potentially a very exciting time to opt for England.
Plus a lot less travelling time. That may seem trivial but look at Alexis and tell me it doesn’t have an effect


Virtually none of Liverpool’s key players are English though.

David C

Trent, Henderson, and maybe Gomez? Ox off the bench like his whole career.

Maybe get Heskey out of retirement! Haha.

England do have great young players though, I think they’ll look decent in the next Euro if they ignore the overhyped Spuds English players.


England have a very good and young players they should take a look at what Frank lampard is doing, no hype just encourage the young one’s that had nothing to lose with age on there side to go out and play


France would like a word.


Neither team is placed to win anything. He should play for who he associates most with.


As long as he’s wearing an Arsenal shirt I’ll be happy


Not sure if he’s allowed wearing one while playing for his country 😛


Pros and cons for both. I actually don’t see why you have to stick with your decision for your entire senior career though. Maybe we could have system where you can change at, say, 8 year intervals (two world cups) if you wish and are eligible for another team.

Tomaury Bischfeld

I agree, why shouldn’t you be able to change? The reality is people don’t just identify with one nation/culture, can’t football reflect that? It might also give federations an incentive to get their act together or risk losing talent.


Exactly this, I don’t think it should be as rigid as it is now, it doesn’t reflect the real world at all. As someone that’s was born and raised in England to African parents I definitely feel the pull of multiple cultures myself, can only imagine what it’s like for footballers. Give them more freedom I say.


Could end up with a situation where players are picking and choosing strong nations for big tournaments and become a farce.

Would be good for Saka to choose England, its been a long time since Arsenal had anyone in the England squad, especially attackers. Having Saka Sterling Sancho and Greenwood (fuck K*ne, hes boring and only scores against part timers) up top for a number of years would be pretty outrageous, shouldn’t be afraid of that competition for places. Could see Saka as an AM.

I have a feeling he will stay with England 8


Why the down votes? Don’t hide, let’s discuss

Eduardo Stark

many Arsenal fans and Arseblog readers are Nigerian. your opinion is reasonable, while they hold their hopes on Saka in green jersey. don’t overthink it. (I’m neither English or Nigerian, btw)

Public Elneny

I think there would have to be a standard set of rules laid out by FIFA for all nations i.e. 1 or more parents born in that country, or 5-7+ years consecutively of living there. I think if eligibility to switch were based on a nation’s own citizenship laws, it would essentially allow small but rich footballing nations to buy a national team. Not sure how legally possible FIFA implementing those eligibility rules would be There would also have to be rules surrounding no. of switches allowed over a career, and length of time lapsed between appearances for different countries… Read more »

Tomaury Bischfeld

The eligibility currently is citizenship + ‘a clear connection’ and should prevent ‘golden passport’ situations as far as I’m aware. I don’t see why you’d need to regulate the number of switches but clearly there should be a committal period of at least 4 years so people aren’t switching for every tournament and so federations can plan. I also don’t think a time lapse is necessary as long as players aren’t switching to teams in the same competition.

Crash Fistfight

Wait to see who is playing for Qatar at the next World Cup before you say that.


That could be the situation but that’s no different from what happens at club level really, we don’t have a problem with that. Moreover, that’s why I included the 8 year intervals, so you still commit for around a decade but can change afterwards.

I wouldn’t want to speculate whether or not Saka will get in the England or Nigerian team, I’m not sure that should be at the forefront of his thought process anyway. And you never know what could happen to the team in the future, he’s best off just doing what feels right for him.

Tomaury Bischfeld

I don’t think that’s going to happen though if you have players committing for 4, 6 or 8 years for example. Whether in practice federations would vote for that change is an interesting question. I think on the whole they would benefit from players decisions / ability to change.

Dave cee

Very good point. How many good players have missed out on playing international football regularly because of a decision made very early in their careers. Declan Rice could well be the latest example for all we know. It’s a pity for the players and also for the quality of the tournaments.


Nigeria is quite pouncy – first Iwobi, then Saka

Gooner Sam

you can’t blame them, I would be in their position


After losing out on Tomori and Abraham recently I’m not surprised.


Those are Nigerians not English blood, what happened to tomori today he’s future with England is gonna be over this year and Abraham, can’t put Kane or anyone in the bench so they made a wrong decision for me


Saka would make the Nigerian team as long as he’s fit 90% of the time. The Super Eagles have a bunch of youngsters coming through the ranks that can be another ‘golden generation’ for them. I’m sure the most populous black nation on earth would give him all the respect and accolades he deserves. If you want to play all the world cup tournaments, then pitch your tent with Nigeria. They’ll definitely almost pick him as long as he keeps developing and becoming a better player. In the end, Saka it’s your call. But take a look at similar players… Read more »


He’s Nigerian, not English. He should play for Nigeria.


How do you figure that? He’s grown up in England, been to school in England, played for English youth sides and starts regularly for one of the biggest clubs in England.

North London is Redder

If be careful with those sorts of claims. I don’t know tryout intention and I don’t want to assume what you meant at all, but the only people who say that sort of thing in the UK are far-right racists.

He was born here, grew up here. He’s as English as anyone else in those circumstances.

Dave cee

Wtf?! What on earth makes you justify that claim? He was born in England and lived there all his life. How much more English can he be??

Man Manny

…but he has Nigerian blood flowing in his eighteen year old veins. That must count for something.


My bad, I thought he was born in Nigeria.
I still think he should declare his loyalty to Nigeria. He has Nigerian parents, family.


Like Ian Wright? Born to two Jamaican immigrants. Do you consider Ian Wright English or a Jamaican?


If you were born on a Richard Branson plane would that make you a Virgin all your life?


He was born in this country; he’s an Englishman.

Once a gunner

But if he is a thief he is a Nigerian? With those description still a Nigerian?


Thank you, you are very wise, you can’t abandoned your nation cause you are born somewhere else, he played from under 17 to 19 that’s enough for England


In fairness England missed out by Iwobi choosing Nigeria in the same way that Arsenal missed out by him signing for Everton – not at all. England would miss out by Saka choosing Nigeria


Always liked Iwobi and wish him the best but we did very well to get that much for him. A decent player, but you can’t have an attacker in this league that offers literally zero goal threat.


He was born in London; he’s English. Under normal circumstances, he should play for England, although his parentage gives him the choice of Nigeria too. It’s the lads choice, but, being an Englishman myself, I hope he chooses England. It’s about time the National side had some decent players. Way too many useless crap Tottenham cunts lately.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

A lot of English wouldn’t call him English, he’d just be another immigrant. He’d be more accepted and appreciated in Nigeria.


Like Ian Wright?

Naked Cygan

It would be amazing to see him play for England, but the media in england puts so much pressure on young talents and hypes them up so much that it sometimes effects their performance. Every time there is a couple of young talented players joining the england squad people get over excited and think we are going to win the world cup. England had some amazing players in Scholes, Lampard, and Gerrard, but they couldn’t perform for England because of the extra pressure.

Teryima Adi

Saka would do well playing for either side. But as a Nigerian, I would want him to play for the Super Eagles.


Without mincing words, Saka will benefit more playing for Nigeria. Taking into account the recent history of those that chose England ahead of Nigeria. Take a look at Iwobi; he’s already a world cup star and African cup of Nations medalist. Same for Victor Moses. Even Shola Ameobi went to the world cup with Nigeria towards the twilight of his career. Just to mention a few. But what can one say about Gabriel Agbonlahor?

In Mikel we trust

From a purely business perspective he should go with Nigeria. Potential to be the biggest star in a huge growing market who would adore him for a very long time. Endorsements galore. With England, they will be on to the next shiny young thing in a few years like always happens after they under perform wildly unrealistic expectations.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

He should play for Nigeria where he’ll be accepted as a person, by all.


Because Ian Wright wasn’t accepted as a person?

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

All the racist abuse he says he gets on a daily basis tells me that he’s not. You want to name anymore names?


If I have the chance to advise him , I will advise he chose Nigeria he will be having good time and better chance to play international football always, just like iwobi , Leon balogun, and the rest

Sheun Moraks

Nigeria took one of the youngest team to the last world cup, we are grooming a future team in which saka will be pivotal to the success, England has too many players to select from, leave saka alone to play for his father’s land…. Don’t waste him like Tammy and tomori

Simple man

Regardless Nigerian situation now, I will advise him to take Nigeria in place of England. Reason been that foreigners doesn’t last long in English football team except you over or out perform their criticism both on the street and in the team. Less recognition if you play for English football team as a foreigner. Playing for English football team media will never respect your privacy and will always criticise every mistakes as if you are a super human. Nigerian will play you till any age provided you are okay with their corruption activities. These are few out of many others.

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