England under-21s boss Lee Carsley says he’ll travel to France next week for a sit down with Folarin Balogun as the striker weighs up who to represent at international level.
Balogun, who was born in New York, travelled to the States last week for talks with representatives from the USMNT to learn more about their operation ahead of the 2026 World Cup.
It’s believed the Arsenal academy graduate is frustrated his good form for Stade de Reims was not recognised with a call-up up to Gareth Southgate’s senior squad for the recent matches with Italy and Ukraine and is very open to a switch in allegiance.
The matter is of particular concern to Carsley after Balogun phoned in an injury last week and subsequently missed under-21 friendlies with France and Croatia.
After last night’s 2-1 defeat to Croatia, Carsley said: “You’re always going to miss a player with that kind of ability and that knack of scoring a goal.
“We have created more than enough chances tonight to get more than the one goal. It would be good to get Flo back.
“Ultimately, he is going to have to make a decision. All we can do is tell him how much we rate him, how much we want to support him and the rest is down to him.
On the upcoming talks, he added: “I’ll just be making the point of how important he is to us.
“Hopefully we can talk a little bit about patience and understanding that he is going to have to keep doing what he’s doing to break through to the senior team.
“Like a lot of players in our squad, we’ve got a lot of players that are pushing. Hopefully, he can see that. I’ve been there myself as a young player, you’re in a rush and you want to get there quickly. Hopefully, I can convince him.”
Balogun has scored 17 goals in Ligue 1 since joining Reims in the summer on a season-long loan.
Keen to continue the forward momentum he’s built up over the last months, the 21-year-old is also seeking talks with Mikel Arteta over how he’ll be integrated into the first team next season.
Surely if they are serious it needs to be Southgate going over to try to convince him. Can’t see this going too well…
Another Balogun thread, I’ll bring the popcorn.
He turns 22 soon so not sure why U21 manager Carsley is getting involved.
I suspect Balogun will choose USA. The chance to be the poster boy and #9 for the hosts of the next World Cup is an attractive proposition.
Although they do have a 20 year old striker – Ricardo Pepi – who scored in both games this week and has 9 goals in 21 games in the Dutch league this season.
Nevertheless, Harry Kane will likely still be England’s #9 in 2026.
Yep, there isn’t a path to be a regular starter for England for the next couple of tournaments, so if you’re a young man in a hurry to make your mark on the world America is calling.
That Southgate is having the U21 manager do the sitdown– should be all Flo needs to determine where he resides in Southgate’s pecking order.
Was watching the USMNT vs El Salvador match the other night– fans were holding up ‘Balogun’ number 9 shirts when TV cameras were panning the crowd.
It depends on how he sees his long-term prospects, and what he wants. Financially, it probably makes more sense to play for the United States–the USA is likely to qualify for every World Cup through his career (FIFA tried to make sure of that even before the format was expanded) and he ls likely to be chosen for each of them. That second part is much less likely if he plays for England ad he surely won’t be England’s single biggest star. I suspect that right now Christian Pulisic has more valuable endorsement deals than Saka and Ben White combined,… Read more »
Hairy kant will probably be England’s #9 in 2036. I almost feel sorry for England fans…almost.
To answer my own question on why Lee Carsley is getting involved when Balogun is almost 22;
The UEFA European Under-21 Championship is this summer. Obviously Balogun (and Smith-Rowe) are both still eligible for it.
The final is on July 8th so it could slightly cut into ESR’s pre-season.
Honestly if by then he’s fully healed from his surgery and injury issues I don’t think it would do Emile too badly to be involved in that and really get a run of games leading into the season seeing as he’s unlikely to get it this season. He could be England’s star in that tournament, especially if Balogun decides to go a different path, and it could do wonders for his confidence.
Arteta will probably give him one more year to see how he performs before making a decision.
I think he’ll be in our squad next season.
I’m certain he will be. We need depth for the CL next season and both he and Jesus can play wide.
If England want Flo to commit, the person doing the asking should be the manager of the senior team, not the u21 coach.
Southgate couldn’t care less. He knows the Euros 15 months away will be his last tournament, and he’s proven himself to be very reluctant to give a fair chance to unestablished players to become established (and vice-versa)
The fact Southgate seemingly is not making an effort to be part of this conversation speaks volumes about his short term thinking and sub standard coaching ability. I don’t give a fig about England’s recent tournament record. They’ve won nothing with an incredible squad and reached a semi and a final despite Southgate. Half the people on here could manage a squad this talented.
As long as Southgate is in charge, he will rarely call up a new player, even someone who’s on red hot form. Moreover he’s not too impressed that Flo is scoring in only the French league. Balogun should play where his heart (head) leads.
Being an usa man myself I would be overjoyed if balo chose the us of a. Striker is the usmnt’s biggest need.
Competent management has to be high on the list as well.
Patrick Vieira is available…
And Henry is also interested.
That too. But, that likely requires competent leadership at Team USA.
Think he may have done too well in France this season. Not sure if he will be satisfied with a slow integration into Arsenal. Mikel has to squeeze out some serious man management here.
A lot of BIG football coming our way (and his way) next season. All he needs to do is start banging them in during the opportunities he will get in the cups and champs league, then there is potential for him to start picking up EPL starts. Jesus is a bloody great striker and so key to our success this year (early), but he still misses a lot of chances – the window or passage to opportunity is not locked and sealed.
Fully agree. He’s not there yet, despite the clearly phenomenal season he’s currently having. Another way to look at it from the Arsenal pov is that Arteta sent him out on loan with a purpose, and Balo is fulfilling that and some. I think he’s opened the door to a role at Arsenal next season but who knows what Mikel’s plans are and what he’s discussed with the player? I don’t think he’s getting too far ahead of himself on the national team front in terms of deciding his future, but talk of him looking for a move away from… Read more »
I’m not going to get caught up with the furore around Balogun. He is scoring goals in a league with one single title contender – it is not competitive, and it is not an effective gauge of a player’s ability. If he replicated that form on loan to say West Ham or Real Sociedad, I would say that yes, he has that potential. It reminds me of Reiss Nelson’s time with Hoffenheim where Reiss did well and, despite the odd-good spell here and there has not replicated that form with Arsenal. If someone came in with a £30 million plus… Read more »
But if he is scoring in a league with only one single title contender, then the other 19 teams are still more or less equal, right?
He’s almost replicating Saliba’s performance in Ligue Un from last season, just at the other end of the pitch. And look how Saliba has integrated into Arsenal.
While I don’t have the same level of caution, I would like to see some patience from Balogun as well. I think he’s done pretty well but I don’t think he can “demand” a place in the England squad with Kane, Toney and even Rashford possibly ahead of him.
Also, I’m worried it’s all getting to his head – I hope he doesn’t come back to Arsenal and then “demand” to start as well. If he comes in and blows everyone away, then great, but he might not as well – so he needs to stay humble as well.
Rashford is definitely ahead of Flo.
Flo needs to keep doing what he’s doing for the rest of this year and next year he can be in a really good position to make the Euros.
Won’t be there playing for the US. He’ll have one major tournament every 4 years and will have to fly around the world to play in America more than he would like. But money talks, as does a fast track to the national team. Either way, first and foremost hope he does the business for us gooners.
I don’t think it’s as much about money (though probably some) as about feeling important and respected. In the end I think that’s what most of us want for ourselves, and seeing how England are treating him I think it’s fair for him to feel he’d be a lot more valued in the US setup, which is almost definitely true for at least the next few years, which is a very long time in a player’s career. I don’t begrudge him choosing to go somewhere where he can star and make a real difference on the pitch, as well as… Read more »
I agree. Everyone downvoting- for context Laca has got 17 goals in 25 appearances in Lyon, and tbh he was way off it for Arsenal and wouldn’t make it anywhere near an international team. Let’s see how he does next year or perhaps sensibly sell him if a big offer comes in, chances are he is a Willock not a Saliba, but who knows.
Per your assertion, you will sell Mbappe if he is offered to Arsenal? Cos unlike Flo the only league Mbappe knows till date is ligue 1 and not to talk of Flo outscoring both Neymar and Messi in the same league.
30 mill is chicken feed these days. Is Anthony worth almost 3 Baloguns?
Southgate is going to keep rolling out Harry Kane and Harry Maguire until the FA comes to its senses and gives him the sack. Kane is already past prime, and is scoring mostly penalties won by others, or tap in glory goals served up by the much better talent around him. It is going to be painfully obvious in the next Euros, and England will probably go far on the backs of Saka, Rice and Bellingham. But if Southgate doesn’t go, and a faded Harry Kane keeps getting picked just to pad his stats like some kind of Pound Store… Read more »
He actually “phoned in an injury”? Why can’t all the lads simply do that?
Not going to happen. Playing for the U.S. makes way too much sense.
If Ivan Toney isn’t getting a look in then he should just represent USMNT.
Toney is having the kind of season where he should be starting some games, should have gone to the world cup and or coming of the bench.
Merit isn’t leading selection.
Pick him then. Tearing up Ligue 1 and not even the prospect of getting picked. Wtf do they expect?