Arsenal forward, Eddie Nketiah has finally made his England senior team debut after substituting Okie Watkins in the second-half of the Three Lions’ international friendly against Australia on Friday.
The British Ghanaian-born striker has been on the radar of the Black Stars since the last World Cup in Qatar, 2022.
Prior to the call up by England boss, Garett Southgate, the 24 year-old attacker indicated that it was too hard to turn down the opportunity.
“Once the call-up was there, an offer was on the table, it was really hard to turn down and something which I felt was a natural progression for myself at this stage.”
“It’s a really proud moment for me, my family and friends,” Nketiah told reporters Tuesday.
“It has been quite the journey to get here – a lot of ups and downs. I’m coming in at a good time and in a good moment. I feel confident and feel ready. I know I’m still going to improve. I’m humble enough to know that I’m not the finished article.”
After gaining his first call-up to the Three Lions for the September international break, Arsenal attacker Eddie Nketiah said his choice to leave Ghana for England was as a result of “natural progression.”
However, Nketiah was a vital player for England’s under-21 side and is the current all-time leading goal-scorer with 16, and has played a series of games for Arsenal, scoring two goals in their first four games.
The Arsenal man still qualifies to play for Ghana despite making his England debut, but that would be nullified if he plays against Italy next week.
Nketiah, who is now 24 years old, is expected to figure out his fate on Tuesday when England plays Italy in an Euro 2024 qualifying match at Wembley.
However, as the Black Stars manager Chris Houghton stated before England’s victory, Ghana, the country of his parents’ birth, hasn’t totally given up hope.
“Some players are very definite about what they want. Some are not so sure and some want to see how things develop. I think that’s been the case with Eddie. We would never say never on him switching to Ghana. But it’s always down to what the player wants.”
Before the FIFA World Cup in 2022, Athletic Bilbao forward Inaki Williams and Brighton’s Tariq Lamptey all switched allegiances to represent Ghana with Stephen Ambrosius, Ransford-Yeboah Konigsdorffer and Patric Pfeiffer.
Story by: Asack Pius | univers.ug.edu.gh