Aluko defends Alli, Ibe’s England choice
Hull City midfielder Sone Aluko feels the negativity surrounding Liverpool and Tottenham youngsters Jordon Ibe and Dele Alli’s decisions to play for England instead of Nigeria is natural human reaction but should be understood in proper context.
On Thursday, Alli made his Three Lions debut in a game against Estonia while Ibe announced his decision to await an England call up to coach Sunday Oliseh last month.
Aluko, who also had to make the decision to represent Nigeria instead of England more than six years ago, says it’s one of the biggest choices a player with dual nationality has to make.
While the 26-year-old chose Nigeria, his older sister Eniola chose to play for the English Women national team and reached the World Cup semi finals in June.
“I think it’s very, very tough,” Aluko told Goal at the Campos Mini Stadium on Saturday where he was guest of honour at the COD Ambbasador’s Cup. “I grew up in the UK, UK academy, UK football, all you know is English football and that set up which is very organized, highly structured and you can see a clear pathway.
“So to leave that and come to the somewhat unknown Nigerian football, you hear many stories of what Nigerian football could be like. It’s a big step for anybody.”
Aluko, scorer of both goals as Nigeria drew 2-2 with South Africa in Calabar last year, a draw which meant the Super Eagles failed to qualify for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, has been working with National League side COD United, which has invested in youth football development via the Ambassador’s Cup open to players below 17 years.
“When I tell players, I don’t tell them to choose Nigeria or choose England, go with your heart, get as much information as you can and decide,” he said.