Top 10 Nigerian Players Who Chose To Play For England… See Their Reasons

Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka becomes the latest England player of Nigerian origin. We rank every potential Super Eagle who played for the European giants in this new list.

9 Dominic Solanke

Former Chelsea and Liverpool striker who remains eligible for Nigeria having only represented England once, in a friendly against Brazil in 2017.

Solanke, currently in the Championship with Bournemouth, has shown glimpses of his youth promise at senior level, but appears unlikely to add to his 15 minutes with the Three Lions.

#8 Fikayo Tomori

Despite reported interest from both Canada and Nigeria, the Chelsea centre-back made his England debut last year.

Even though his six-minute showing came in a competitive fixture, he remains eligible for the Super Eagles due to the recent Fifa change to eligibility rules.

7 Tammy Abraham

Another recent entry—and a controversial one at that—Abraham appeared close to committing to the Super Eagles, particularly after NFF President Amaju Pinnick revealed that he was on the brink of choosing Nigeria for his future.

Ultimately, the Chelsea striker chose England, and while he has four caps to date, the presence of the likes of Harry Kane, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Marcus Rashford threatens to reduce his potential international impact with the Three Lions.

6 Carlton Cole

The ex-Chelsea frontman acknowledged that he was approached by Nigeria, and was tempted by the prospect of playing alongside his hero, Nwankwo Kanu.

“I was called up by Nigeria last season but Chelsea told me that it was in my best interests not to go,” the former striker said last year. “I could have been playing alongside Kanu. I look up to him as one of the best players in the world.

“My father is Nigerian and my mother comes from Sierra Leone but I’ve never been a follower of Nigeria and my interest in African football is only occasional.

“I was born in England and consider that to be my country so I want to play for them.”

Cole ended his England career with seven appearances, all from the bench.

5 Ugo Ehiogu

Late centre-back who passed away prematurely in 2017 following a heart attack at Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground, where he was working as a coach.

The defender enjoyed a distinguished playing career, notably with Aston Villa and Middlesbrough, and amassed four caps for the Three Lions.

4 Bukayo Saka

The latest Nigerian player to turn out for the Three Lions, Saka made his debut in last week’s 3-0 victory over Wales.

He remains eligible for Nigeria, as that match was just a friendly, although the Arsenal wonderkid appears determined to make his mark with England.

3 Gabby Agbonlahor

One of the most contentious players on this list, Agbonlahor was courted by the Super Eagles, and remains the enduring example of someone who was ultimately spurned by the Three Lions, potentially regretting what might have been with Nigeria.

He ended his international career with just three appearances—zero goals—and could have achieved so much more with the West Africans.

2 John Salako

The only Nigeria-born player to play for England, Salako was born in Ibadan before moving to Kent as a youngster.

He’s a Crystal Palace legend, making over 200 appearances for the Eagles, and was included in the club’s Centenary XI.

The outside left made five England appearances—all in 1991.

1 John Fashanu

Towering, powerful striker who was a cult hero with unfashionable Wimbledon during their halcyon days at the top of the English game.

His international career, potentially due to the intense competition, was relatively brief, with two appearances a scant return for such a talented and unique frontman.

Following his retirement, Fashanu expressed regret that he hadn’t turned out for the Super Eagles instead.

“The fact is that I really wanted to play for Nigeria and I came home on three occasions but the coach said I was not good enough to make his team, and so never selected me except for one friendly match against China where I was an unused substitute,” Fashanu told Goal.

“So, it was never my fault at all and it pained me so much that I never played for my country.”


Written by GQ!

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