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Blow for England as Folarin Balogun declares for USA

Folarin Balogun has opted to represent the United States at senior international level, reports The Athletic.

Balogun has spent the season on loan at Reims, where he has begun to make a name for himself. The Arsenal loanee has netted 19 times in Ligue 1, making him the division’s joint-fifth top scorer.

The 21-year-old’s international future has been the subject of plenty of speculation in recent months. He grew up in England, and has featured for the Three Lions at youth level on several occasions.

Additionally, he was born in the US to Nigerian parents and is eligible for both nations. He also briefly represented the former for their under-18s side.

That speculation has now been put to bed, with Balogun deciding to play for the US at senior level.

The move will undoubtedly get more coverage if England and the US are paired up again in a future international fixture.

This will come as a huge boost to the Stars and Stripes. At the World Cup in Qatar, they performed admirably but scored just three goals in four games. A more lethal goalscorer could help them reach the next level.

Balogun could make his debut next month when the US play Mexico in the CONCACAF Nations League semi-final.

He will be competing with the likes of Josh Sargent, Timothy Weah and Haji Wright for a starting spot.

Potentially a huge blow for England

While Nigeria will be disappointed to miss out on a youngster of Balogun’s talent, they ought to survive perfectly fine. They already have one of the world’s most prolific forwards in Victor Osimhen for the next few years.

England also boast one of the best strikers on the planet in Harry Kane. And, with Ivan Toney, Callum Wilson and Ollie Watkins providing support, the Three Lions seem fairly set in this position.

However, all of these players will soon be in their 30s. Now that Balogun is gone, it’s difficult to see who England’s next first-choice striker could be.

As for the player, it’s an opportunity to make himself a national hero with the US. The North American nation are jointly hosting the 2026 World Cup, and Balogun could be their main man at the tournament.

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