Did Eddie Nketiah make the right decision ditching Ghana to wait for England?
High-flying Arsenal striker, Eddie Nketiah, appears to have better chances of achieving his dream of playing for England after turning down a nationality switch to Ghana a few months ago.
Nketiah is stealing headlines with his recent form, earning praises from some ex-England internationals, which has put the 23-year-old on the right path for a Three Lions call-up in March 2023.
He scored a brace and delivered yet another masterclass in a 3-2 win over Manchester United on Sunday, January 22 while England coach Gareth Southgate watched on from the stands at Emirates Stadium.
“Nketiah has really stepped up in the absence of Jesus. As for Arteta, well, what an incredible job he’s doing,” Gary Lineker tweeted after the game.
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“Had a premonition that this guy’s going to have a stormer today. Go get ‘em,” British broadcaster Piers Morgan also tweeted.
Currently, Eddie Nketiah has a brighter chance of playing for England than ever before.
In mid-2022, Nketiah was handed the opportunity of representing Ghana as he appeared to be grasping straws with his dream of an England cap.
Nketiah had a strong end to the 2021–2022 season. He was on a scoring spree but was never on England’s radar for the 2022 World Cup or the present future.
He is a multi-national. He was born to Ghanaian parents in England, meaning he can play for Ghana due to his Ghanaian root or England because he was born and bred there.
The Ghana FA was reportedly in talks with Nketiah to follow the steps of other Ghanaian foreign nationals, including Tariq Lamptey- a Ghanaian British-born who had switched nationality to play for the Black Stars.
However, the young forward was fixed on establishing himself at Arsenal, a breakthrough that can hand him the ticket to playing for England.
“Yeah at the moment it is just focusing on the club and cementing my place here, contract situation has been most of my thinking,” he said in an interview quoted by Ghanasoccernet.
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“I think a point will come where I will sit down with my family hopefully in the near future and then make a decision. I haven’t made up my mind yet so will sit down with my family and my team and see which is good for me,” he added.
Despite deciding to wait for England, the uncertainty around his place in Arsenal, and England being spoilt for choice in the centre-forward role made playing for the Three Lions never seemed like it.
Moreover, Arsenal’s acquisition of Gabriel Jesus in the summer made the situation worse because it meant Nketiah was going to spend more time on the periphery.
Nketiah, nevertheless, has shown the real determination of making the most out of his few game time this season.
Jesus, who had been brilliant for Arsenal picked up a long-term injury at the World Cup, leveling a big spot for Nketiah to fill.
The injury has been a blessing in disguise as Nketiah has lived up to the billing, offering the similar quality Jesus gave Arsenal before his injury, and above all adding goals.
He has scored six goals in six matches since the League resumed after the World Cup, the most by any Arsenal player within the period.
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At the moment, his decision to wait on England might be paying off but there is still a lot more to do. Maintaining his form is key but Jesus’ return might slow him down as he would lack minutes to continue his run.
Nonetheless, playing for England is foreseeable for Edward Keddar Nketiah.