Folarin Balogun scored another four goals at the weekend to take him to the top of the Golden Boot charts and move him closer to a first-team debut.
Arsenal destroyed Reading 8-0 on Saturday, a result that kept them on top of the table, four points ahead of Spurs, who have a game in hand. Arsenal have now won their last 11 league games in a row, scoring a whopping 51 goals and a big reason behind their form is the goalscoring antics of Folarin Balogun.
The 17-year-old scored a first half-hatrick and had a fourth in the net by the 57th minute before anyone else decided to join him in scoring. Miguel Azeez, Sam Greenwood, Yunus Musah and Matt Smith added Arsenal’s other four goals in the last 10 minutes of the game.
Balogun started this round of matches in second place in the u18 Golden Boot race, but his four goals took him three clear of Everton’s Ellis Simms who was one ahead of the Arsenal man before the game kicked off.
U18 PL | With the U18 Premier League Back in earnest tomorrow, update of the scoring leaderboard ⤵️
20 – Ellis Simms (Everton, 18)
19 – Folarin Balogun (Arsenal, 17)
16 – Bobby Duncan (Liverpool, 17)
15 – Morgan Whittaker (Derby, 18)
13 – Mason Greenwood (MUFC, 17) pic.twitter.com/ZXWxM6Orrf
— Football Wonderkidz (@FootWonderkidz) March 29, 2019
This season Balogun has 23 goals and four assists in 17 appearances, a stonking record by anyone’s measure. He’s providing a goal or assist every 53 minutes at present.
— TheAFCnewsroom (@TheAFCnewsroom) April 6, 2019
As a result of his fantastic form, national teams are starting to scramble around him and the question of the teenager’s international allegiance is starting to garner increased interest. He addressed the issue recently, speaking to the Arsenal matchday programme for before Arsenal’s home match against Rennes.
“I haven’t yet declared who I will commit to internationally,” Balogun began. “I was born in New York, so can play for the USA. My parents were born in Nigeria and I have been in England since I was two years old, so I can play for both those countries too!
“I have several youth caps playing for England and I enjoy their style of play which is similar to Arsenal’s. I will be discussing matters with my parents and will then decide.”
Balogun has already played a number of matches for England’s youth teams. At the moment he’s in the u18s, and he’s received another call-up to that side for the international break this month.
However, the striker has also already featured for the United States u18s. He played in four matches last August, scoring two goals, which seemingly then sparked England to promote him to their own u18 team, having previously only used him at u17 level. Nigeria would be wise to make their case sooner rather than later to avoid missing out.
To watch Balogun in action, check out this compilation of the highlights of his season so far: