Gareth Southgate calls for patience for Folarin Balogun
Currently on loan at Reims, the Arsenal striker has scored 17 Ligue 1 goals this season. However, he was overlooked by Gareth Southgate as he can play for the United States and Nigeria as well as England.
Despite scoring 17 Ligue 1 goals, Gareth Southgate opted against calling up Folarin Balogun for England's Euro 2024 qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine. The England boss claims lack of Premier League experience was key to his decision.
"It is up to the player to weigh up where his heart feels. Is he prepared to wait a little bit for an opportunity if he backs himself and feels he can push his way into our squad?"
"Because anybody who has followed us will know that we will give young players a chance. So, we cannot go and give first-team call-ups to someone just because we don't want them to go somewhere else.
"We like Flo. He has obviously not had an opportunity in the Premier League yet, so we have to weigh up those goals to Ivan [Toney], for example, or Ollie Watkins. Or Eddie Nketiah, who has done really well with the opportunity he has had at Arsenal.
"I know there are going to be offers as 80 per cent of our players can play for more than one country now, and we are not arrogant expecting everybody to want to come to play for England. We have to make them feel wanted and feel part of that.
"Ultimately, it does not matter what you say. If you cannot give them the opportunity now, then some people are patient and want to see it through and are prepared to wait a bit and others want it now and I can totally understand that."
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