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Mikel Arteta hints that Bukayo Saka should choose England over Nigeria at international level

Bukayo Saka will be encouraged to reject Nigeria and choose an international career with England, if Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has his say.

Arsenal’s talented teenager has represented England up to under-19 level, but now the Londoner is being courted by Nigeria, where his parents came from. 

‘If I get asked the question then I can give my opinion,’ Arteta said. 

‘He hasn’t come to me with that so for now I will leave it totally independent with the player and his family as they normally have a big say with their background, their culture and where they are coming room. I don’t want to step in there.

‘Absolutely [he is good enough to play for England] – and he’s very clever to make the right decision, as well.’

Saka, 18, told Sky Sports: ‘It’s a tough choice. I’m happy to have represented England at youth level but I’m also proud of my Nigerian heritage from my parents.

‘We haven’t been picked by any team so it’s about staying humble and when the time comes we’ll make the decision.’

In the past Chelsea and England players Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham have previously turned down a chance to play for the Super Eagles.

However, former Arsenal man Alex Iwobi, Victor Moses and Shola Ameobi plead their allegiances to Nigeria after featuring for the youth teams of England beforehand. 

Nigeria are already plotting to fast-track the left-sided utility player into the senior set-up in the hope of persuading him to choose an international career with them over England.

Their ploy to tempt Saka has taken a back seat in recent weeks owing to the long delay in international football due to coronavirus. But with national team matches due to return in September, the Nigeria Football Federation will ramp up their efforts, with Saka still to make a final decision.

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