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Written by Martin Graham | 12 May 2022
Reports claim that Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi are set to change their nationalities from England to Ghana ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar later this year.
Both players were at Chelsea Cobham’s training facilities at the same time but Nketiah was released by the Blues at Under-14 level. He moved to Arsenal where he rose to the first team while Hudson-Odoi rose to the Chelsea first team.
Both strikers featured prominently in the England Three Lions’ age tier settings, with Nketiah’s exploits on the best side in recent history. The Arsenal striker is England’s under-21 top scorer with 16 goals, breaking Alan Shearer’s record of 13 goals.
Unlike Nketiah, however, Hudson-Odoi has been capped twice in official competitions and once in friendlies by the senior national team, becoming the youngest player to make his England debut at senior level and the second youngest player to gain a start after Wayne Rooney. Both of his hats came in 2019, and he hasn’t been recalled since.
With both players now looking unlikely to represent England, they have now opted to join Ghana, which both have rejected on multiple occasions at various points in their football careers.
Hudson-Odoi is Ghanaian on his father’s side while Nketiah is a British citizen of full Ghanaian descent. Both players were reportedly convinced by the Ghana Football Association, who met the players and their parents.
The fact that England manager Gareth Southgate had so many options to choose from in attack also factored into the decision to switch nationalities. Hudson-Odoi has also helped with new FIFA rules that allow players who have played three or fewer official matches for one country to move to another if those matches come before their 21st birthday.
Southgate’s pool will be smaller but Ghana’s pool will become larger in terms of attacking talent from the world’s top soccer leagues. Ghana will meet Portugal, Uruguay and South Korea in Group H in the Qatar World Cup.
However, pending the switch, both are still eligible for call-up and with an international window emerging soon, both could switch to England at Southgate before switching nationalities.