Why Iwobi chose Nigeria over England: The inside story

Fulham midfielder Alex Iwobi has shed light on why he opted to represent Nigeria at the senior level instead of England, where he was raised.

A product of the Hale End Academy, Iwobi played for England's U-16, U-17, and U-18 teams before committing to the Super Eagles with his competitive debut against Egypt in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on 25 March 2016.

In 2015, Iwobi trained with Nigeria's Olympic Team and was set to play against Gabon U-23s in an African Games qualifier.

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However, eligibility concerns led the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to withdraw him from the squad.

Iwobi explained that despite the positive treatment he received from the English Football Association, he decided to switch his international allegiance to Nigeria due to his strong Nigerian heritage.

Iwobi embraces Nigerian heritage: No regrets over England

Iwobi's decision to represent Nigeria over England has been a significant one in his career.

Despite being raised in England and having the opportunity to play for their youth teams, he feels a deep connection to his Nigerian heritage.

In a candid discussion, the Fulham star shared his thoughts on this choice, and his experiences with the Nigerian national team.

“I wouldn't say I have any regrets. I'd like to say I respected England, they gave me a lot of opportunities and I was able to do them proud,” the 26-year-old told Hotsports Nigeria.

“But I feel more at home with Nigeria. I feel this is where I'm at home and where I represent, like my family, everyone. I've grown up in a Nigerian culture so I'd say that I have no regrets picking Nigeria over England.”

Alex Iwobi @ Icon Sport
Photo by Icon Sport

Reflecting on his time with the Super Eagles, Iwobi added, “I've been here for a while now and I'm familiar with the team.

“Even from the first time I came here they always made me feel welcome. I'm always enjoying myself not just when we are playing matches but in training. In the camp it's like one big family so it makes it easier for me to express myself and join in.”

“I'm enjoying my time and hopefully there's more years to come as well,” Iwobi concluded, expressing his optimism about his future with the Nigerian national team.

Alex Iwobi's international journey: From England to Super Eagles

Having the option to represent either England or his birth country, Nigeria, Alex Iwobi initially started his international career with England as a youth player, achieving success in the 2011 Victory Shield.

He played in 11 youth matches for England before deciding to switch his allegiance to Nigeria in 2015. Iwobi made his senior debut for the Super Eagles on 8 October, coming on as a substitute for Ahmed Musa in the 57th minute of a 2-0 friendly loss to DR Congo in Visé, Belgium.

Since then, he has earned 78 caps for the Super Eagles, scoring 10 goals.

Iwobi is the nephew of Nigerian legend Austin Jay-Jay Okocha, who earned 73 caps for Nigeria between 1993 and 2006, and is widely regarded as one of Africa's greatest players.

Iwobi's form a blessing to Super Eagles ahead of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers

As the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers approach, the Nigerian national team, the Super Eagles, are preparing for the upcoming challenges.

One player who promises to significantly boost the team is Alex Iwobi. His versatility and ability to adapt to various positions and playstyles make him an invaluable asset for both club and country.

Whether playing as an attacking midfielder, defensive midfielder or winger, Iwobi brings creativity, vision, and flair to the field.

His talent for scoring goals and creating opportunities for his teammates enhances Nigeria's attacking options.

Alex Iwobi @ Icon Sport
Photo by Icon Sport

Iwobi's experience in top-flight leagues like the English Premier League has refined his skills and accustomed him to high-pressure situations.

This valuable experience will be crucial on the international stage, where every match is vital for World Cup qualification.

Facing South Africa and Benin gives Nigeria a chance to assert their regional dominance and strengthen their position in the World Cup qualifying campaign.

With the Fulham man in peak form, the Super Eagles have a powerful weapon as they aim to secure victories and move closer to qualifying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

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Godfred Budu

Godfred Budu, a Ghanaian sports journalist, brings a dynamic perspective to the field with over a decade of experience. Having contributed to esteemed platforms such as Kickgh.com and Inkandkicks.com. Godfred is recognised for his insightful commentary and in-depth analysis of African football.
His passion for storytelling and commitment to accuracy have established him as a trusted authority in sports journalism in Ghana, captivating audiences with his engaging narratives and unparalleled expertise.
Godfred holds a degree in Integrated Development Studies (Social and Development Administration option) from the University for Development Studies, Ghana.