Ismael Bennacer has opted to represent Algeria, the country of his mother.

Bennacer, an 18-year-old attacking midfielder who joined Arsenal in 2015 from Ligue 2 side, Arles, was born and raised in town of the same name in the south of France and is of Algerian and Moroccan descent. He joined the French side when he was just seven.

The 5’9″ made his Arsenal debut in the League Cup when he replaced Theo Walcott after 19 minutes in a game the Gunners went on to win 3-0 against Sheffield Wednesday. If you cast your mind back, that was the game in which Theo himself had come on as a sub to replace the injured Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Under contract with Arsenal until 2020, he cost the club approximately £255k.

A statement on the Algerian Football Federation website, said simply, “The International Federation of Football Association (FIFA) has officially qualified the Arsenal player Ismael Bennacer (18) to play for the representative teams of Algeria (National Team A).”

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.