'I respected England' - Iwobi explains why he chose Super Eagles over Three Lions at senior level 

Published: May 20, 2024
'I respected England' - Iwobi explains why he chose Super Eagles over Three Lions at senior level 

Fulham midfielder Alex Iwobi has explained why he chose to play for the Nigeria national team at senior level, rather than England where he grew up. 

The Hale End Academy graduate represented England's U16, U17, and U18 teams before becoming cap-tied to the Super Eagles with his competitive debut against Egypt in an African Cup of Nations qualifier on March 25, 2016.

Iwobi trained with Nigeria's Olympic Team in 2015 and was set to play against Gabon U23s in an African Games qualifier. 

However, questions about his eligibility arose, prompting the Nigeria Football Federation to pull him from the squad.

Iwobi revealed that although he was well treated by the English Football Association, he chose to switch his international allegiance from England to Nigeria due to his Nigerian heritage.

In an interview with Hotsports Nigeria, Iwobi said: "I wouldn't say I have any regrets. I'd like to say I respected England, they gave me a lot of opportunities and I was able to do them proud.

"But I feel more at home with Nigeria. I feel this is where I'm at home and where I represent, like my family, everyone. I've grown up in a Nigerian culture so I'd say that I have no regrets picking Nigeria over England "

Lagos-born Iwobi has settled into life playing for his country of birth, Nigeria despite growing up in Turkey and England. 

When he started the Super Eagles' 1-0 win over Angola in the quarterfinals of the 2023 AFCON, he overtook his famous uncle Austin Jay-Jay Okocha as Nigeria's seventh most capped player, behind only Ahmed Musa, Vincent Enyeama, Joseph Yobo, John Mikel Obi, Nwankwo Kanu and Muda Lawal.

"I've been here for a while now and I'm familiar with the team. Even from the first time I came here they always made me feel welcome. 

"I'm always enjoying myself not just when we are playing matches but in training. In the camp it's like one big family so it makes it easier for me to express myself and join in.

"I'm enjoying my time and hopefully there's more years to come as well," Iwobi concluded. 

Ifeanyi Emmanuel 


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