Arsenal and England u21 striker Folarin Balogun believes he’s ready for a new challenge, he just doesn’t know what that is just yet.
Folarin Balogun has been away with the England u21s over the international break, with a couple of incidents pushing the issue of his future back into the limelight.
First, Lee Carsley made some headlines by suggesting Balogun needed to go out on loan to test himself.
“He’s probably missed out on that little bit of senior football,” Carsley said. “You need testing.
“Watching him in the u23s for Arsenal, it’s probably a little bit too easy for him and he’s passed that level.
“I imagine he wants to play for Arsenal and pushing for a position but it’s such a big club with a lot of competition.”
Balogun then had the chance to make his first start for the England u21s, and he scored his first goal for the side.
Balogun scores 🏴🇨🇿 pic.twitter.com/VUzuUPvJq8
— Ali8razavi1 (@Aliasgh38158855) November 11, 2021
Since that game, Balogun has been speaking to the media, and he’s suggested he would like a new challenge.
“I have played youth football for a little while, I have obviously scored a lot of goals at that level and improved at that level drastically from when I started,” Balogun said.
“I do feel like I am ready for a new challenge but I am not sure what that might be, it might be a loan or if I am needed at Arsenal then I am here and the gaffer knows that.
“I am definitely open to a new challenge but it is something that whatever that challenge is I will be ready.”
Balogun’s comments shouldn’t be interpreted as dissent, by any means.
The young striker went on to say that he trusts in Mikel Arteta, whatever the Arsenal boss’ plan is for what’s next.
“I know that I need to be patient and I have complete faith in the gaffer. Whatever the plan is I will give 100 percent and I know it will work out.”
It may be that Balogun gets a few chances for Arteta’s first team before a loan is considered.
Aubameyang will join Gabon at AFCON in January, whilst Arsenal will play a bunch of Premier League fixtures, the FA Cup third (and potentially fourth) round, and a possible two-legged League Cup semi-final.
With the games coming so thick and fast, Balogun is likely to play some minutes over that month.
But if he’s not pushing for a starting spot by the end of it, a loan would certainly make sense.
It’s not just with Arsenal that Balogun needs more chances. As mentioned, Thursday was only his second start for any England team above the u18s, and just his first competitive start, despite his consistently strong form with the Arsenal youth teams.
Ideally, Balogun would be more involved in both club and international matches in 2022.