Christian Pulisic tells Folarin Balogun USMNT would LOVE Arsenal loanee to join them as England appear to have lost international allegiance battle
- Promising striker starring in France
- Withdrew from latest England U21 squad
- Could commit to country of his birth
WHAT HAPPENED? The 21-year-old striker has been starring on loan at Reims in Ligue 1 this season, with the Arsenal-owned frontman registering 18 goals through 29 appearances. He was included in the latest England U21 squad, having previously earned 13 caps at that level, but withdrew from the Young Lions’ ranks due to an apparent injury and has since been spotted in Orlando – where the United States squad is based heading into CONCACAF Nations League clashes with Grenada and El Salvador.
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WHAT THEY SAID: Chelsea star Pulisic, who will captain the USMNT in the absence of usual skipper Tyler Adams, has told reporters of potentially welcoming Balogun on board as he mulls over his senior international options: “I haven’t really spoken to him personally. I know some of the guys that know him from previous teams or whatever have reached out to him and spoken to him. From our side, we’d love to have him.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Matt Turner, who was first choice goalkeeper for the United States at the 2022 World Cup, is among those to have revealed that he has spoken with Balogun about a big career choice – with the 28-year-old shot-stopper also tied to the Gunners. He has said: “I've spoken to Flo. We obviously had most of our pre-season together and I knew going into it that he had some roots in the U.S., so he and I developed a relationship pretty quickly. That's pretty much the extent of it. We check in on each other here and there. He'd be a great addition to our national team. I think he's done really well, obviously, for his club on loan, and we'll see. The decision has to come from the heart because it's not necessarily an easy task always to come and play in these CONCACAF games. It's a tough region at times. So for us, we'd be really grateful to have him but his heart needs to be in it.”
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WHAT NEXT? Balogun is a New York native, and has represented the U.S. and U18 level in the past, but he moved to England at two years of age and has been part of the set-up at Arsenal since 2008.