Ademola Lookman: Nigeria 'excited' to get ex-England youth star

3 months ago 384
Ademola Lookman in action for Leicester CityAdemola Lookman has scored five goals in 22 appearances for Leicester since joining on loan

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) expressed "excitement" and "delight" after former England youth international Ademola Lookman was cleared by Fifa to play for them at senior level.

The Leicester City forward was eligible to play for the Super Eagles through his parents and the clearance means that he could play in the two-legged 2022 World Cup play-off against Ghana next month.

"We are excited about this positive news because it comes as a major boost for the national team," NFF director of communications, Ademola Olajire, told BBC Sport Africa.

"He's now eligible to play for Nigeria starting with next month's matches, but a decision whether to invite him or not is the sole responsibility of the coach.

"Lookman is a great addition to the Super Eagles and after a long wait, we are delighted that he can finally play for us."

Long road

Having represented England at Under-19, Under-20 and Under-21 level, Lookman will be looking to play for the West African nation in major tournaments like the Africa Cup of Nations and the Fifa World Cup.

But the process to get him to switch international allegiance began in 2020 when the team secretary Dayo Enebi prepared all the required documents on the NFF's part.

However, the application suffered a long delay due to the player's inability to sort out his Nigerian passport aa well as his failure to provide a written request for a change of association in line with Fifa regulations.

Lookman only completed the paperwork this week which enabled the NFF to file a fast track application for his clearance.

England to Nigeria

Nigeria have previously succeeded in convincing several former England youth internationals, such as Sone Aluko, Victor Moses, Shola Ameobi, Alex Iwobi, Ola Aina and most recently Ashleigh Plumtre, to swap allegiances.

Meanwhile, the trio of Sheyi Ojo (Millwall), Ovie Ejaria (Reading) and Chuba Akpom (PAOK), born in England to Nigerian parents, have also made themselves available to the three-time African champions. ,

Lookman has scored five goals in 22 appearances since joining Leicester City on a season-long loan from German Bundesliga side RB Leipzig in August.

He also spent last season on loan at Fulham, scoring four goals in 35 appearances, but was unable to save them from relegation from the Premier League.

He joined Charlton Athletic's academy in 2014 and made a rapid rise through the ranks before his first-team debut in November 2015.

Over two seasons, he went on to feature 49 times in all competitions for the Addicks, scoring 12 goals, before signing for Everton on a four-and-a-half-year-deal in January 2017.

He scored four goals in 48 appearances for the Toffees, before enjoying a brief loan spell with RB Leipzig in the 2017-18 season which led to a permanent five-year deal in July 2019.

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