England are still looking to beat Nigeria in a a race to secure Everton winger Ademola Lookman as an international player under Gareth Southgate’s regime, but just how important is this, and what is best for the tricky lad?
Ademola Lookman made his name at Charlton Athletic and has already became a Premier League player with Everton and a World Cup winner at Under-20 level with England, but that does not necessarily mean that the winger’s professional career is continuing on an upward curve. The prospect is no more than a fringe player in Marco Silva’s first-team squad at Goodison Park suggested that there is still plenty of work to do in order to regain the kind of form which resulted in an impressive period on loan at RB Leipzig in the 2017/18 season, and Lookman is now faced with the dilemma of where to pledge his international allegiances for the remainder of his playing days.
Lookman will weigh up the pros and cons before making his final decision, and the attacker will have to take a number of things into consideration. There will naturally be a sense of pride with representing the country of his parents – who are both from Nigeria – and the pathway to becoming a regular for the Super Eagles is likely to be easier than waiting for an opportunity with the Three Lions. Lookman will also look to the successful switch of another fellow Londoner in Wilfried Zaha, who has already won more than 10 caps for the Ivory Coast after falling down the pecking order for a regular role in the senior England squad.
Should Lookman switch allegiances to Nigeria?
Lookman has the potential to go on and gain 100 or more caps with Nigeria if he makes the switch now and should he do so, the there will be a number of familiar faces from the Premier League to welcome him into the fold, but question marks remain regarding how long Lookman is prepared to wait before committing his future either way. 1
The one thing fans have been able to agree on is just how promising Lookman has been, and how valuable his contributions have been.
The very question that is the subject of this article seems strange then; surely the England should of course try and beat Nigeria?
However, all is not lost, and it depends entirely on Lookman being given an invitation from Nigeria to play for them, which to everyone’s knowledge he has not yet received.
The Three Lions must seize such an ongoing opportunity and reach out to Lookman, to assure him that he is definitely part of the future plans and is close to the squad. They can further enhance the chances of him changing his mind by including him in training and keeping him in touch with the big stage.
It is all very vague at the moment, and nobody know what is happening behind the scenes, but it is important to understand the situations at the respective national teams.
Nigeria have a relatively well spread core, featuring well-known names such as Samuel Chukwueze, Samuel Kalu, Moses Simon, Ahmed Musa and Henry Onyekuru. Despite a disappointing World Cup 2018 campaign, the Super Eagles have heaps of talent. There is a space in the attacking core, as Odion Ighalo, Victor Osimhen and Ebere Onuachu could be perfectly complimented by someone of Lookman’s stature and promise.
The fact is, Southgate couldn’t promise Lookman consistent playing time at international level, which is a painful possibility for him to have to digest.
The discussion, rather abruptly, ends here. From my point of view, I would love to see Lookman don the Green and White jersey and join a generation of dashing wingers that have played for Nigeria in the past, however for his career I feel it wouldn’t be the best move.
Nigeria is an exciting team to play for, and it is important fans set aside their own personal preferences and consider the future of an immensely talented player. He may shine for Nigeria in the same time he wouldn’t even grace the bench for England, and that is the inevitable fact.
Become a Super Eagle, Lookman, you deserve the limelight.