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Opinion – England should convince this 20-year-old Everton sensation and avoid a second case of Wilfried Zaha

hy England must prevent Ademola Lookman from switching allegiance

According to the Sun, 20-year-old Everton winger Ademola Lookman is considering switching his international allegiance to Nigeria. The youngster featured in England’s U21 win over Latvia but it looks like his heart lies elsewhere.

Lookman, who was on loan at German club RB Leipzig last season, made every effort to make his deal permanent this season but Leipzig were unable to meet Everton’s demands (h/t Sky Sports).

The 20-year-old has been a regular name for England, having represented the Three Lions at the U19, U20 and U21 levels. However, he is yet to feature for the senior team in any competitive fixture.

According to Daily Post Nigeria, Lookman has made it clear that he wants to play for Nigeria in the future, despite Gareth Southgate’s efforts to convince him to pursue his international career with England. Lookman’s father wants to see his son play for the Super Eagles and the Nigerian Football Federation have initiated moves to persuade the FIFA to transfer his nationality (Daily Post Nigeria).

FIFA rules allow Lookman to represent either England or Nigeria since he was born to Nigerian parents in England. England faced a similar thing a couple of years back, when Wilfried Zaha switched his allegiance to Ivory Coast, following his lack of opportunities to play for the Three Lions.

Zaha, just like Lookman, had an impressive record in the youth stages for England. He was also capped in a couple of international friendlies for the senior team but he ultimately switched his allegiance to Ivory Coast.

And it looks like England will find it difficult to preserve one of their most promising young talents once again. A part of the team that won the FIFA U20 World Cup in 2017, Lookman was one of the architects of England’s glorious campaign and starred with three goals in the tournament.

He is a player with huge potential and Lookman has already shown strong signs of excellence. However, he is still in the developmental stage of his career and has a long way to go.

Lookman’s decision to switch his international allegiance to Nigeria may be the result of his frustration at Goodison Park. After the move to join RB Leipzig fell through, the 20-year-old has made only one substitute appearance in the Premier League so far.

Furthermore, the likes of Ben Chilwell and Demarai Gray have been involved in senior team action for the Three Lions. Despite working wonders for England at the youth levels, Lookman has not been called up to the senior team yet.

Given his lack of opportunities at the club and international level, it makes sense for the youngster to seek greener pastures by switching his international allegiance.

As a result, the Football Association of England do not have much time to try and convince Lookman. Southgate should call Lookman to the senior squad and hand him his international debut in the group stages of the UEFA Nations League in November.

That should be the perfect way to appease the youngster and hopefully, tie him down to England. On the other hand, Everton must utilize Lookman more often in Richarlison’s absence.

Wilfried Zaha had a terrific season last time around with Crystal Palace and the winger has found consistency in his game. Lookman is also a talented player and might develop into one of the finest talents in England. However, England must prevent him from pulling off a Wilfried Zaha and should do everything to convince the player.

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