Saturday, June 10, 2023

Interlull round-up: Saka plays for England, Balogun to choose the US?

Morning all, a very quick Friday Interlull round-up.

There’s very little going on from an Arsenal perspective, so it’s all really about how our lads are doing on international duty. England beat Italy 2-1 last night, and Bukayo Saka played 85 minutes before being replaced by Reece James. I have no idea how he played, just that he did. Aaron Ramsdale was on the bench.

Thomas Partey played the full 90 as Ghana beat Angola 1-0. In today’s fixtures, Jakub Kiwior could feature for Poland as they take on the Czech Republic, while Belgium are away to Sweden, and if his current form doesn’t get Leandro Trossard a start, I’d be very surprised. Also quite happy, but mostly surprised, and I think that’s the extent of our worry today.

Elsewhere, having written about him yesterday, there might be some interesting international developments regarding Folarin Balogun. He is in Orlando right now, and has had some discussions with the US men’s national team. According to ESPN, their temporary coach Anthony Hudson said:

“As I’ve said before, we’ve had dialogue. We’ve spoken. He’s out here having a bit of a break and then some training, and we’ve had some discussions.

“I think it’s been good because it’s been an opportunity for us just to share about our program and who we are and what we do and that’s it. I hope we get the chance to speak to him again. It’s been good and I know a few of the guys have spoken to him as well.”

Flo has represented England at underage levels, but is also eligible for Nigeria and the US because he was born in New York. He was called up the England U21 squad for this break, but withdrew due to an unspecified injury. An injury that obviously isn’t serious enough to have prevented him from travelling to Florida.

There’s a suggestion that he was unhappy at being left out of the senior England squad after his goalscoring exploits in France, with an Instagram post being cited as a snub to Gareth Southgate. It’s quite possible, the message said: In life, go where you’re appreciated.

Maybe that’s it. It’s also possible that trying to delve too deeply into social media posts isn’t always the best way to understand what a player is thinking. Nevertheless, he has rocked up in Orlando and had some chats about representing the US, so it does lend some credence to it.

I said during the World Cup one of the missing pieces for the US team was a real striker, they looked very hit and miss up there in Qatar, and you could see how Balogun would fit the bill. Then again, players have a lot to consider when it comes to their international commitments. Think of Declan Rice who represented Ireland at underage level all the way through, then chose England. Maybe that decision was made because he has a literal lion for a heart, but maybe too there’s an understanding that the financial and commercial benefits of being an England international far outweigh those of playing for Ireland.

Ireland is small. The USA is definitely not. Balogun could potentially be the star man up top for the next decade in one of the biggest commercial markets on earth. It’ll be very interesting to see what he chooses.

Right, I’m gonna leave it there for this morning. There’s a brand new Arsecast below, an Interlull Q&A with Art de Roché. All the links you need are below. Enjoy.


Related articles

Share article

Featured on NewsNow

Support Arseblog

Latest posts

Latest Arsecast