England u21 boss Aidy Boothroyd says Nigeria could look to lure more players away after the success of Alex Iwobi for the national side.
There have been reports that Tammy Abraham could switch to the Super Eagles, although so far he has denied the links. Boothroyd says he expects Abraham to remain with England, but doesn’t deny that Nigeria will try to lure more players away in the future, especially if the Three Lions can’t guarantee them game time.
Asked about Iwobi’s decision to play for Nigeria, after spending his youth career with England, and the possibility of Abraham doing the same thing, Boothroyd explained (via Evening Standard): “It’s a hard one. I can’t guarantee they are going to play because the group is so good. Tammy didn’t start the game before last but that’s just one of those things. Perhaps other countries will see that and get into him, promise him the world and get him in the first team.
“It’s an interesting one (with Abraham). I saw like you all did on the TV. The good thing is we have a relationship and I can pick the phone up and say ‘what’s going on mate?’
“He laughs and says he doesn’t know where it came from but it certainly didn’t come from him. Twenty minutes later it comes across in yellow again: ‘Tammy Abraham says he’s going to play for England’.”
Abraham is currently at Swansea City, on loan from Chelsea like so many other youngsters, so he’s certainly no stranger to moving for game time. Of course playing for Nigeria would be a much more permanent decision, but it seems at the moment he’s happy with England.
Iwobi has played for Nigeria 11 times between his debut in October 2015, almost two years ago to the day.
Recently he has become a fully fledged first team member, starting every game since March 2016 except the most recent two, when he was injured.
It’s clearly been a good experience for him so far, but Boothroyd will hope that doesn’t encourage others to follow in his footsteps.