Saka: Tough choice between England and Nigeria

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bukayo_saka_2020

Bukayo Saka’s breakthrough season with Arsenal has caught the attention of England boss Gareth Southgate.

The 18 year old has represented the country of his birth at U16, U17, U18, and U19 levels, and is pushing for a first senior cap.

However, he is of Nigerian heritage, and this week it was reported that the Super Eagles are making overtures in order to secure his international future.

It’s a choice that Saka knows is a difficult one, but says until such time as he has to make it, he’ll remain humble.

“It’s a tough choice,” he told Sky Sports.

“I’m happy to have represented England at youth level but I’m also proud of my Nigerian heritage from my parents.

“We haven’t been picked by any team so it’s about staying humble and when the time comes we’ll make the decision.”

Alex Iwobi had a similar choice to make after he made his Arsenal breakthrough, having played for England at youth level, he chose Nigeria and has made 38 international appearances, scored 6 goals, and played at a World Cup.

Meanwhile, Saka had praise for boss Mikel Arteta for the faith shown in him, as he committed his long-term future to Arsenal with a new contract.

“Being young and at a big club if you are in the team over an experienced professional the manager is basically telling you without speaking that I believe in you,” he said.

“He’s saying go and do what you can do and that belief gives me so much confidence.

“Arteta is so detailed and clear and a lot of the players will tell you we are learning from him.

“I feel like we’re going in the right direction and we’re working hard to hit the ground running next season.”

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goongot

Anyone else thinks that gareth southgate is not a great manager and got lucky with england job ?

Spanish Gooner

Absolutely. He seems a lovely bloke, but he lucked out in the World Cup and qualified for the Semi final by virtue of throwing the Belgium game and getting an easy draw as a result. It’s a real shame because England have an absolute golden generation hitting their peaks and with a good manager they good really do something special, but Southgate hasn’t shown anything special to me

Managanese

Naija boy!

Georgeycharles

Personally, if my parents emigrated to another country and then I was born and raised there, then (were I good enough) I’d want to represent that country at sport, no question – but, you do what you’re gonna do I guess…

Georgeycharles

Indeed so, and l think you might have mentioned those sentiments before. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I’m guessing your parents didn’t view your time in England as a permanent arrangement, which I think would make a difference.

Chipper49.

Ditto Arseblog. Could I just add that in this case I don’t actually have any interest who he plays for beyond Arsenal.

viegunner

where in england did you grow up, blogs? would be intrigued to read your autobiography

viegunner

thanks! will read

Heavy Gunner

Lucky you got out of Croydon,Blogs- you could have ended up as a Chavski fan- sniffing glue and wearing distasteful clothing…

Johnny 4 Hats

Probably wondering if he wants to be stuck behind Sterling and Sancho for his entire England career.

Come on bruv, you know you’re better than those two.

Kia Joorabchian ate my hamster

Johnny

Do you love hats or do you have 4 of them?

God is a Gooner

He is 7 years younger than sterling, and may well still play his career in midfield, but I take your point

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

I think England will use him as a LB, a

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

A Dani Alves type of players, coaches love to have that if they can.

gooner

It’s your choice boy but if you ask me, Africa isn’t just a continent. It’s one big country and heroes are cherished from corner to corner. I can’t start naming all the African heroes of my childhood but even the names I heard from the probably exaggerated tells from my elders still ring in my mind.

you have a choice between representing a country and representing a continent.

Johnny 4 Hats

Plus you don’t get thrown under the bus by the British tabloids…

Spanish Gooner

I agree with this, but the only issue is the AFCON. It’s hard for managers to rely o players and build teams around them knowing they’ll lose 2 months to go off and play, as unfair as it is

gooner

growing up as a kid there was nothing better than watching AFCON. I know how it sucks for European football and as an Arsenal fan there are moments I had conflicting feelings but I can’t explain how much I always longed for that Jan-Feb thing even when my country was always marginally missing out on qualification.

TSOTIA

Didn’t Klopp – and Liverpool – just did that! He built his team around such players – not even just one – and he has the Premier league trophy for his troubles! 🤔😁

BTW, Liverpool didn’t win the league when they had players who didn’t give them such AFCON headache, you know?

I do see your point but, perhaps, that point is over-rated and Klopp had just shown the rest it’s no big deal, in fact…

Legrande

AFCON has been moved to the summer.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Nigeria lost so much in quality, you’re not even sure they can qualify for ACN or WC. If it was Nigeria of 1994 or 1996, the football side could have been very attractive to him.
Plus, money paid from marketing income to players after competition might be much bigger if you play for England. In Nigeria, the football leadership take a big chunk of it. I am saying what I heard former Nigerian players say.

Babs

Wow!.. Quite philosophical if you ask me, and good philosophy is Truth!!

goonero

A beg oh, my brother, it’s really not. The Nigerian FA are a collection of corrupt money thieving cunts who have no interest in developing or catering to the countries talents or taking even moderate actions to further our footballing development. You’ll forever have a home there as the son of a Yoruba and Nigerian, but not wanting any part of that cesspit is a decision no one in their right mind will blame you for. When you’ve established yourself, do what you can for the grassroots game as a private individual, that’s the best way to give back to… Read more »

Bamzee Blaze

So you are even Yoruba? Ki wa ni gbogbo isokuso to n so l’enu? Awon to pada wa sile la ti wa s’oju Ile won yen won ki n s’eniyan? So so’pe ki won ma pada achieve gbogbo aniyan won ni? A ti e wa je pe be’ee l’awon Geesi to fi n s’apere ni won j’olo’oto to. Se be’ee ni won we ti won yan kaankaan to? Wo, Omo Iya mi, ko sibi ti o ni wahala ti e, t’oba se’pinu la ti wo aso orile ede e, ipinu to dara ni. Awon to ti wo Aso naa tele… Read more »

Femi

Nkan ti gonnero nso yen,otito ni. Sungbon Ori bibe ko l’oogun orififo. Ohun gbogbo ku si Saka lowo. Amo, yio to data to t’obale soju orile-ede Nigeria. Pelu geesi, ko ni ni opolopo ifesewonse pupo lati gba. Ohun t’o MAA sele so Tammy Abraham niyen.

He’s welcomed

Naija Gooner

Haha… I never thought I would read the yoruba language on arseblog, I find my Nigerian 🇳🇬 folks everywhere, although considering how big Arsenal is here in Nigeria I am not surprised. COYG

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Can’t you show enough courtesy and write your comment in English so everybody can understand?

Femi

Was that the reason why you down voted me? I was replying to the preceding response which painted NFF in red. Yeah, they are corrupt but he would do well with the Eagles that three lions. England for so many players coming up from academies year after years. Naija doesn’t produce players like that. We so rely on players who solely made it on themselves not the one that were developed by footballing institutions. A great example is the D’tiger,the national basketball team. After being in doldrums for years, those foreign players are making us believe we can make it.… Read more »

That comment wrote in mother tongue wasn’t for you bro

goonero

The privilege goes both ways, there’s not more honor in one than the other. The only question that matters to me as an Arsenal fan is which institution is the best for Saka’s development as a man and a player for Arsenal.

If you know anything bout the state of the Nigerian FA there’s just no way you can make any compelling argument in support of him getting involved with that shit show.

gooner

corrupt as the Nigerian FA is, you should see the reception Kanu gets when he steps foot anywhere in Africa.

Bamzee Blaze

Not just Kanu, what about Okocha? If he puts on the Green and white shirt, he is representing a very proud legacy beyond those two. People like Segun Odegbami, Muda ‘Toro’ Lawal, Rashidi Yekini, Peter Rufai, Christian Chukwudubem, Samuel Okwaraji…it is a very proud legacy. It will be a privilege.

gooner

This being an Arsenal blog I couldn’t start yaipping Nkono, Rufai, Weah, Abedi Pele, Roger Milla, Radebe, Mboma, Kalusha Bwalya( what a cultured left foot he had), Mustapha Hadji, Hossam Hassan and all the way to the countless heroes still active.

But I’ll tell you how much I love Kolo, Lauren, the two Emanuels however much you guys hate one, Damn it I love Chamakh, Gervinho and if stars had aligned perfectly I’d have a tatoo of Trabelsi across my chest

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

I have a better player list for Saka that fits him more: Drogba, Auba, Eto’o, Mané and Yaya Touré.

Reality check

And Salah, the best african player at the moment.

Musbau Halid

Those were different times. The officials are a bunch of good for nothing clowns preying on players allowances, hotel accomodation & feeding these days. That’s why the teams are not functionally advancing as should .

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Drogba didn’t even succeed being a candidate for president of the FA of Ivory Coast. He needed the support of various professional sport associations to be considered. All of these groups got organized against him and gave their support to non-football people. I am saying this because Drogba chose to play for Ivory Coast over France.

Nketibag

He’s got time on his hands but personally I’d like to see him play for England. Arsenal as a club have had a poor decade of representation in the national team. Seeing 5+ spud players of questionable ability in every international is getting on my nerves. Cummon Saka!

Luther

Who gives a toss if we have had a “poor decade of representation” in the England team? What has English football ever done for Arsenal?! Look at all those times referees and the F.A. screwed us over just because we had “too many foreigners”, and cost us several league titles since 2004. Remember the screwjob at St. James’ Park; the 4-4 where the referee scored three of Newcastle’s four goals? Remember 2008, and how our title was stolen from us then too? I really could go on and on. I’m almost inclined to say that any true Gooner would always… Read more »

Nketibag

I take it you’re not English then..
I stand by wanting some gunners in future England squads. I think it’s strange you don’t.
Personally cheering winks dier and kane on every 2nd summer is pissing me off.

I don’t doubt referees have skrewed us with a xenophobic bias, but that’s nothing to do with the International team.

Luther

I am very much English, as I was born and have lived all my nearly 35 years in England. And I do get behind England teams in other sports; it’s just that I have a lot of contempt for England when it comes to football, and not because of a lack of success. This xenaphobia, that you have acknowledged, may not be the fault of the England players, but the people running the England team (the F.A.) have a lot to do with it. The media who have smeared us for years and years, have done so for the sake… Read more »

Overbars

AFCON absence or dealing with the British press. Tough choice.
Whatever Saka decides, more power to him.
He is Arsenal DNA. 🙂

Luther

It’s a big decision – it will determine whether the media, pundits, and referees are biased towards him or they are biased against him for the rest of his career in English football. Just look at how Ozil gets vilified whenever we lose, but Danny Wellbeck was never blamed when he missed all those scoring opportunities, a lot of which were put on a plate for him by Ozil.

Goonerrific

Love Saka, but it does seem a bit twatty to represent England at each level and then ditch them when it comes to crunch time. Why not play for Nigeria at under 16s, 17s, etc if that’s you background.

This may not apply to him, but I always sniff a bit of a marketing / commercial influence when these decisions are made.

Ask the average bloke and they’ll tell you who they would play for in a heart beat (irrespective of who that is).

Spanish Gooner

Not really – he can’t go flying off to Lagos every month for a couple of u15 games when he’s got school in the morning, plus I’d imagine the flights would have made it very expensive for both the player and the Nigerian FA. I’d prefer him to play for England, but it’s absolutely an understandable choice if he decided not to

It Is What It Is

The average bloke is usually only eligible to represent one country. Also, the average bloke would have no idea of the workings of youth national teams, their culture and atmosphere, and would most likely be making an average uneducated decision when choosing.

loose_cannon

Whatever decision he makes I’m sure it’ll be the right choice, comes across as a very intelligent and grounded guy.

Man Manny

Nigeria all the way. England is my second team though.

Nkem Emereuwa

The decision is purely yours to make. Choose wisely. You will get vilified by the English press for any single mistake you make on the pitch should you go for Nigeria. However, you stand a better chance of winning continental and global trophies with Nigeria. Also, you will feel much more loved and respected by Nigerians.

Luther

You’re spot on. If he chooses England, he’ll be painted as an honest and talented player, and any cock-ups he may make will be blamed on his teammates/manager (the foreign ones). If he shuns England, he’ll be viciously condemned for any mistakes he makes – or even doesn’t make – and his character and desire will constantly be questioned.

UGOCHUKWU

You nailed it Sister. Such a brilliant submission

Nkem Emereuwa

Bro. lol

Femi

Great points!

AussieGooner

Something nobody is mentioning is the African Cup of Nations. Saka choosing Nigeria means Saka choosing to miss a chunk of Arsenal games at what is always a tough stage of the season.

The next competition is scheduled for Jan – Feb 2022.

If Saka becomes an important part of our first team (some could argue he already is) we really up for him to not be around at a time when both fixtures and injuries start to pile up?

I’d be happy with no players who play for African clubs to be honest.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Do you mind during the Euro years having your african players fresh and ready to go which compensates for the tired european players though?

AussieGooner

Would rather that than being knocked out of Europe in February because we have an injury crisis and yet our best player is in Africa.

Surely our memories aren’t that short?

Its a reall problem, hence why the African cup was moved to summer. Now it is back in Jan/Feb it will be a problem again.

Femi

CAF are shit!

St Michaels Adekunle

How do you mean isssshhhh

Richie

I would pick Nigeria – no media pressure, fans don’t boo their own players as far as I know, better weather, and Nigerian women are the most beautiful in the world. Wait are we still talking about football here? Plus who would want to play with Kyle Walker, Eric Dier, Dele Ali, Harry Kane, and Jamie Vardy?

Santori

Like to see him for England of course but eithe team is fine.

He’s been excellent for us this season.

Griffith Walters

Play for nigeria, they will stick with you through thick or thin.. england will drop you like a hot brick the first chance they get..

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

England not bad If you compare to France. After french players behaved pretty bad in South Africa 2010, their FA blamed that on ethnicity (to me) and decided to block players with dual citizenship from the national academy. This meeting was taped by a french-algerian worker who gave it to the journalists. Nothing happened to nobody in that FA after it was revealed. The FA got full support from politicians and the public. The kids that could have been blocked at the time (Pogba, Mbappe, Umtiti, Mendy, Kante etc…) with Griezeman, Giroud and others won the worldcup for them. I… Read more »

Pepe's Right Foot

It’s hilarious seeing fellow Gooners debate over Saka’s international future😂. You guys sound like divorced parents

kaius

Honestly one of the most entertaining threads ever on here 🤣

Charles MMM

The truth is that he’ll be more appreciated if he plays for Nigeria. English journalist/media will vellify and tear him to shreds at the slightest bit of on field or off field mistake. But whatever choice he makes, he will still be our Saka7. Best wishes boy.

Dave cee

Honestly disagree. Playing for England will almost make him immune from criticism or sanction in the PL. It is the golden ticket to kicking people in head and getting away Scot free. Just ask Shearer, Scholes, Gerrard or Vardy

Ernesto

What a brilliant lad infact,I prefer him playing for Nigeria to England because only one game with England,they will definitely dump him the way they did to other Nigerian players.example(Ruben Agbonlahore)

Mhizta Ralph

Be it England or Nigeria, we are going to support your decision man. I’d advice the latter though cos playing time is guaranteed. Look at Tammy Abraham… I’d place my bet that he is not gonna make the 23man list for euro 2021.

Pep Arteta

Make a good choice… Don’t be like Gabriel Agbonlahor

It Is What It Is

Ross Barkley

Tobbybella

I wouldn’t want him to follow the footstep of stiff-necked Agbonlahor who was persuaded to represent Nigeria but refused and ended being freezed out of England national team, same with Shola Ameobi who rescinded his decision only when he was finished. Iwobi should be thankful he made the right and still enjoys playing time in super eagles plus “Lagos life” whenever he returns

Dave cee

Let’s be honest here, Ameobi and Agbonlahor were never great players. I agree he will probably have less competition for a place in the Nigeria team but is that really a good way to look at things. I’d prefer he firstly played for the team of his heart and didn’t limit his ambition.
But first of all, keep working, play well for Arsenal and worry about this stuff later

Jonathan

Saka should represent Nigeria if he wants to have a blissful international career he will be treated well with the Super Eagles.
He should not make the mistake of Tammy Abraham and Gabriel Agbolahan.

Crespo

England will make you look like Agblaho. Think how they usually deceive African players. They will allow you to choose them, they will feature you in one match and forget you. But as far as you choose NIGERIA, you will be among the boys to be taking decision over things. Ndidi is one of our big players now, Don’t you know you will bench Iheanacho because you are far better than him. In terms of money, don’t attach it over playing for Nigeria because you are already getting the money in England with Arsenal. Make yourself proud by playing for… Read more »

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

He should play for the country where he’ll be appreciated and accepted by all, and that’s not England.

Babs

Let Saka initiate discussions with the likes of Justin Fashanu, Agbonlahor, and some others, who in the past had chosen England over Nigeria, and asked them how many Caps they had? Then open similar discussions with Victor Moses, Alex Iwoyi, etc, then he can take what I call “an informed decision!..” Afterall it’s his future international career we’re talking about here! So dear Boy, do your personal research, talk to your parents, and do the needful. As far as I am concerned ask yourself, 10, 15, 20 years down the line, compared to Tammy Abraham and his Chelsea teammate (Bukayo… Read more »

St Michaels Adekunle

If I were you, I will love you to play for your country of heritage because England will use you once and dump you to the bench, it has been to many .e.g Salako, Fashanu and many more so kindly pick wisely