Efforts by Nigeria to poach Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori have failed as the players have been called up for England’s Euro 2020 qualifiers. England coach, Gareth Southgate, called up the players alongside 23 others as the Three Lions take on Czech Republic on October 11 and Bulgaria three days later.
Abraham won two England caps in a pair of friendlies in November 2017 but remains eligible for a change of allegiance to Nigeria until his recent invitation to England’s senior team. If he plays against either the Czechs or Bulgaria, he will not be able to switch allegiance to Nigeria again, while the same also applies to Tomori, who played for Canada at U-20 level.
On why he called up the Nigerian into the England squad, Southgate said, “He (Abraham) and Tomori are both in on merit and have been part of our junior system right the way through, so we see them as English players and they have a huge desire to play for England at senior level.
“It was a fairly easy decision (to pick Abraham) as he’s the leading English goalscorer in the league.”
In a bid to convince Abraham to switch his allegiance to Nigeria, Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare, and President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, said the player’s father was contacted. Abraham expressed delight over his call up, saying, “(I’m) Always proud to get the England call up.” Punch
Pix: Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham, during Chelsea, Liverpool clash