'USMNT have to appeal to Folarin Balogun's ego' - Eric Wynalda claims 'spotlight' can steal Arsenal loanee from England

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Folarin Balogun Reims Arsenal 2022-23
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Ex-USMNT striker Eric Wynalda outlined how he believes the Stars and Stripes can get Reims star Folarin Balogun to commit to their cause.
  • Balogun loaned to Reims from Arsenal
  • Tied with Mbappe for most Ligue 1 goals
  • Eligible to play for USMNT, England and Nigeria

WHAT HAPPENED? Wynalda, like many supporters of the USMNT, is eager to see Balogun represent the Stars and Stripes at international level, even though he admitted it could be tough to convince the player not to choose England. Wynalda claimed the best approach would be telling Balogun he'd be the star attraction at the 2026 World Cup, whereas he might be lost in the shuffle with the Three Lions.

AND WHAT'S MORE: Striker was a glaring positional weakness for the USMNT at the last World Cup that could be fixed by Balogun's presence.

WHAT THEY SAID: "We have to appeal to his ego which is the reality of this," Wynalda said on the Wondergoal podcast. "We should let him know that he will be a star. An absolute star at a World Cup, in his own country as he was born in New York.

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"We need to lock him in with some sponsors too. He will be a star with us. He won't necessarily be a star with England. It will come down to how important it is for him to be in the spotlight. That's the only chance we've got to get him. Everything from the Mastercards, the Budweisers, the Coca-Cola's, the big ones that will be sponsors of this World Cup. They have to figure out how to fit him into the budget."

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Balogun will likely leave Reims after 2022-23, with the Ligue 1 club's president telling reporters this week that he would join a "very big club" this summer if Arsenal don't have a place for him. Meanwhile, he has not indicated when a final international decision will come, but one would expect it to be soon to give him a chance to participate in upcoming international competitions.


Wynalda knows a few things about scoring goals for the Stars and Stripes.

Eric Wynalda USMNT 1993

And Balogun, 21, could be one of the USMNT's biggest names within a few years.

Folarin Balogun Reims 2022-23

But England boss Gareth Southgate hopes the success of his team will keep Balogun with the Three Lions.

Gareth Southgate 2022

WHAT NEXT FOR THE USMNT? The USMNT probably needs to get its own house in order before having any chance to attract important dual-nationals. They are currently without a permanent head coach, and may not hire anyone until at least the summer.