Sheyi Ojo: England U20 World Cup winner open to representing Nigeria

Sheyi Ojo
Sheyi Ojo helped England beat Venezuela 1-0 in the 2017 Fifa U-20 World Cup final

England Under-20 World Cup winner Sheyi Ojo says he would consider playing for Nigeria at senior international level - if the West African country came calling.

The 21-year-old, who is on loan at French club Reims from Liverpool, is eligible to play for the Super Eagles because his parents are Nigerians.

Under Fifa rules he can switch allegiances because he is yet to play for the senior side.

And, despite 43 England caps from under-16 to under-21 level, Ojo is keen to fly with the Eagles.

"To be honest, I don't know much about it (Nigeria interest), but if they call me I'd be honoured to go to Nigeria," Ojo told BBC Sport.

"It's obviously a massive nation. I'm just really focused on club football at the moment, but I'm excited for the future, both club and country.

"My parents are originally from Nigeria as well, so they know a lot about it. They've always been keen on the idea [to represent Nigeria] but so far I've mainly been focusing on club football.

"It's starting to get to the time where I have to start thinking about my future. And of course, if Nigeria were to call me now it would be an honour."

Ojo played five matches including the 1-0 win over Venezuela in the 2017 Fifa U-20 World Cup final to help England to their biggest international title since 1966.

Nigeria have previously succeeded in snapping up former England youth internationals like Sone Aluko, Victor Moses, Shola Ameobi, Alex Iwobi and Ola Aina for the Super Eagles.

The three-time African champions are also close to persuading Everton striker Ademola Lookman to play for them rather than England.

Sheyi Ojo
Sheyi Ojo is currently on loan at Reims in France from parent club Liverpool

Ojo, who joined Liverpool from MK Dons as a youth prospect in 2011, would love to join such an illustrious list.

"Of course, if I was to get selected I'd definitely think about it, I'd never turn down Nigeria," said Ojo.

"I'm from Nigeria originally so it'd be an honour, likewise with England as well. If I keep doing well, opportunities will come by for club and country.

"It's not really something I'm thinking about at the moment but you never know what could happen in the future."

For the moment, Ojo who has one goal in 13 appearances for Liverpool's senior side, is focusing on establishing himself with Reims.

After loan spells with Wigan Athletic, Wolves and, last season, Fulham, where he scored four goals in 24 appearances for the Cottagers, he opted for a challenge outside England to prove himself.

"Obviously, Reims has given me the opportunity to play regular football and I am pretty excited for the season, so hopefully it will be a good one," he added.

"The main aim is to use this as a platform. It's up to the Liverpool manager to give me the opportunities. I feel like so far I've done what I can to get the opportunity, obviously it hasn't come.

"Hence, why I am on loan and hopefully after this loan spell you never know what could happen. Opportunity could arise next season.

"I have some goals of my own, but I'll keep it to myself. Now it's just to help Reims do as well as they can. The main focus is to do well, shine as much as I can. Just to showcase what I can do in France and all around Europe."

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