Rohr, NFF push for Everton’s Lookman
Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr is pushing hard on all fronts to convince Everton wonder kid AdemolaLookman to switch his international allegiance to Nigeria.
Rohr, receiving the backing from the Nigeria Football Federation, appears to have succeeded in convincing Chelsea right-back Ola Aina and Arsenal forward ChubaAkpom to choose Nigeria ahead of England, after the England-born players took part in a closed-door friendly match between two teams formed from the Super Eagles squad in London on Monday.
Former Gabon manager Rohr is also said to have picked up commitments from Sunderland attacking Josh Maja (18), Charlton Athletic midfielder Joe Aribo (20), Millwall midfielder Fred Onyedinma (20) and Queens Park Rangers forward EberechiEze (18) to pledge their international futures to the country where their fathers were born.
London-born Lookman, who joined high-riding Everton from Charlton Athletic in a deal reportedly worth £11m in January, has represented England’s Under-19s and Under-20s.
But the forward, who announced himself at Everton with a brilliant goal with his second touch in the 4-0 hammering of Manchester City at Goodison Park on January 15, is eligible to play for Nigeria through his parents.
Although the 19-year-old, who is favourite to lead the line for England at the European U21 Championships in Poland in June, has yet to decide on his senior international future, Rohr and the NFF had exerted increasing pressure on the player to follow in the footsteps of Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi and Chelsea’s Victor Moses, who opted to play for the Super Eagles.
But it was learnt on Tuesday that the 63-year-old former Bordeaux manager had redoubled his efforts to finally trap the teenager ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against South Africa on June 9, as well as the 2018 World Cup qualifying double-header against Cameroon.
NFF president AmajuPinnick had decided to take advantage of the Eagles’ friendly games in London to help Rohr secure the services of English-born or English-raised players, with Lookman the number one target, for the national team.
Pinnick is said to have met with Lookman’s representatives in England, but sources said the player has yet to make any commitment regarding playing for Nigeria.
However, It was learnt that the English FA are aware of the moves being made by Nigeria to land the player and have been trying hard to keep him for the Three Lions, after losing Moses and Iwobi to Nigeria after representing England at youth levels.
Report by Miyen Akiri