CHELSEA centreback Fikayo Tomori has pledged his international future to England in favour of Nigeria after receiving a call-up from Gareth Southgate and is looking forward to featuring in the forthcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.
Tomori, 21, born of Nigerian parents in Canada, grew up in England and is thus eligible to play for all three countries. This season, he has broken into the Chelsea first team where he is a now a regular starter, sparking off a demand for his services at international level, with Nigeria and England both hard on his heels.
However, Nigeria was always going to struggle as Tomori has featured for both Canada and England at youth level and getting him would require a lengthy switchover process with Fifa. On March 27 2016, Tomori captained Canada ‘sU20 to a 2–1 victory over England U20 and on May 16 that year at the next international break and a day after making his professional club debut, he was called up to the England U19 squad.
On June 4 2016, Tomori made his England U19 debut against Mexico, playing the full 90 minutes. Tomori was also part of the England 2016 Uefa European Under-19 Championship squad which reached the semi-finals before being knocked out by Italy but recently said he would go for whichever country called him up at senior level.
Over the next week on October 11 and 14, England play the Czechs and Bulgarians in the Euro 2020 qualifiers and manager Gareth Southgate included Tomori in his squad. Accepting the invitation, Tomori said he would have represented either Nigeria or Canada had they extended an invitation to him before the Three Lions did.
Tomori added: “England is such a big nation, as well as Nigeria and Canada, so I think I was going to be happy with whoever called me up but it’s nice it is England. It wasn’t England all the way as I had certain people and certain things that I had to consider.
“I spoke to my family and people that I care about it and that’s the decision I came to, so, when England came calling, it was difficult to say no. It was just more of a thing I was waiting for a call-up because the last international break I didn’t get a call-up from anyone but this international break, I was waiting for a call-up and England called me up.”
Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr had said that getting Tomori and his teammate Tammy Abrahams was always going to be tough because the switch process could take up to a year. This weekend, Nigeria plays Brazil in Singapore but neither player could be called up because they have not been cleared by Fifa to feature for the Super Eagles.