The Football Association (FA) have hatched a plan to pluck the best African players in academy football to play for England.
England’s top academies are awash with talented players of African origin and FA chiefs want to give themselves the best chance of ensuring those players pursue a career with England.
Players are not fully committed to a nation until they have played a competitive fixture for their country, but the FA will provide kids as young as 13 with a clear international pathway in a bid to prevent them from pursuing a career elsewhere.
Arsenal youngster Alex Iwobi, who moved to England from Nigeria at the age of four, is an example of the scenario the FA want to avoid.
There is a belief within the England set-up that Iwobi, despite being only 20, would be in the senior squad now.
However, despite playing for England at junior level, Iwobi pledged his international future to Nigeria, and already has 8 caps to his name.
Similarly, Chelsea’s Nigerian-born wing back Victor Moses also turned his back on England to play for Nigeria while Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha opted for a career with Ivory Coast despite winning two senior England caps.