Apart from having a lot of political history, Nigeria and England have also been intertwined by football in the past, with both countries known to be involved in some player tussles over the years.
From the likes of John Fashanu, John Salako and Gabby Agbonlahor from back in the day, to the more recent ones in Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Bukayo Saka, England has had the upper hand in most of the player tussles.
Although a few of them did opt to represent the Super Eagles, Danny Shitttu, Shola Ameobi, Victor Moses and Alex Iwobi come to mind. Still, England generally tends to get the better of their ex-colony.
Another one of those dual-nationality players has come along, and both countries will soon be at loggerheads trying to convince him to either pull on the white of the Three Lions or the Green of the Super Eagles.
Eberechi Oluchi Eze was born in Greenwich, London to Nigerian parents, which makes him eligible to represent either one of these two nations, and even though England are the more appealing of the choices in terms of pedigree, Nigeria offers Eze something England cannot.
If Eze opts for the Super Eagles of Nigeria, he gets a level of relevance he might never attain in the English national team set up, simply based on the kind of player he is and the role he plays on the pitch.
Nigeria is blessed with a lot of quality young players who are just as exciting to watch, but none quite like Eze in terms of the dynamism in their style of play.
22-year old Eberechi Eze is what is known in today’s game as an inverted winger, the creativity and vision of a number 10, merged with the skill and pace of a winger, when he’s on top of his game, he’s a problem for any defence to handle.
While the competition for places is very high on both the English and Nigerian national teams, it would still be considerably easier for Eze to secure a starting berth for the Super Eagles rather than the Three lions.
For England, Mason Mount, Ross Barkley, Jack Grealish, Phil Foden are all ahead of him in the pecking order, whereas the Nigerian midfield is crying out for creativity which would make him an instant asset to the team.
The Super Eagles have a good group of young players, the likes Alex Iwobi, Samuel Chukwueze, Victor Osimhen, Samuel Kalu and the rest are exciting players plying their trade in top European leagues, Eberechi Eze should fit in quite well.
He’s already had a feel of both systems, and that should aid in helping him make an informed decision. Eze trained with the Super Eagles squad in 2018 while they were in London for a friendly and he has also represented England at under 20 and under 21 level.
Eberechi Eze showed a glimpse of the kind of player he can grow to become on Saturday with a superb man of the match performance in Crystal Palace’s 4-1 thrashing of Leeds, scoring a direct freekick to give the Eagles the lead.
Eze could also be the answer to Nigeria’s set-piece woes, the Super Eagles haven’t had a proper set-piece specialist since Jay-Jay Okocha and Taiye Taiwo, and the Crystal Palace man could well provide a danger from dead-ball situations.
After all, is said and done, after the speculations and permutations about the decision, only Eberechi Oluchi Eze can decide where his international allegiances lie, with Gareth Southgate’s England or Gernot Rohr’s Nigeria.