Ademola Lookman forced to wait for Nigeria debut after switch from England

By Oluwashina OkelejiFootball Writer, Nigeria
Ademola Lookman in action for Leicester City
Ademola Lookman has only started two Premier League games for Leicester since joining on loan

Leicester City winger Ademola Lookman has decided to switch his international allegiance to Nigeria from England, but will have to wait a while before making his debut.

The 24-year-old helped England win the Under-20 World Cup in 2017 but is eligible to play for the Super Eagles through his Nigerian parents.

Despite opting to represent the west Africans, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) is yet to apply to world governing body Fifa for a nationality switch because he has played for England at Under-19, Under-20 and Under-21 level.

"We are aware of Lookman's desire to play for us and I have spoken to him as well. However, there is a process to it," NFF chief scout Tunde Adelakun told BBC Sport Africa.

"After this process, then comes the consideration and decision of the head coach [Gernot Rohr] on whether or when he deems it fit to get him involved."

Nigeria have previously succeeded in convincing several former England youth internationals, such as Sone Aluko, Victor Moses, Shola Ameobi, Alex Iwobi and Ola Aina, to swap allegiances.

Meanwhile, the quartet of Sheyi Ojo (Millwall), Ovie Ejaria (Reading), Chuba Akpom (PAOK) and Ike Ugbo (Genk), born in England to Nigerian parents, have also made themselves available to the three-time African champions.

Should Lookman get clearance from Fifa to play for Nigeria, he would face competition from Villarreal's Samuel Chukwueze, Samuel Kalu of Bordeaux and Lorient's Terem Moffi for a place in the squad.

He has scored twice in nine appearances since joining Leicester City on a season-long loan from German Bundesliga side RB Leipzig in August.

Lookman also spent last season on loan at Fulham, scoring four goals in 35 appearances, but was unable to save them from relegation from the Premier League.

He joined Charlton Athletic's academy in 2014 and made a rapid rise through the ranks before his first-team debut in November 2015.

Over two seasons, he went on to feature 49 times in all competitions for the Addicks, scoring 12 goals, before signing for Everton on a four-and-a-half-year-deal in January 2017.

He scored four goals in 48 appearances for the Toffees, before enjoying a brief loan spell with RB Leipzig in the 2017-18 season which led to a permanent five-year deal in July 2019.

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