Ian Wright gives backing to Folarin Balogun after England snub
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Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun has received Ian Wright’s backing after being overlooked for the England squad during the international break. The 21-year-old has been on prolific form while on loan at Reims this season but Mikel Arteta is believed to be open to selling him in the summer with Gabriel Jesus, Eddie Nketiah and Leandro Trossard all fighting for the striking berth.
Balogun has impressed during his one-year loan spell in Ligue 1 this season netting 18 goals in 29 games. The striker has been central to Reims on-field success this season with the French side recently going on an 18-match unbeaten run under Englishman Will Still taking them to ninth place in the table.
He was not considered for the England squad despite his good form with Ivan Toney beating him to the spot as Harry Kane’s backup. Gareth Southgate suggested that part of his reasoning was the Brentford star was performing in the Premier League rather than Ligue 1.
However, Wright has suggested that he should have been given more consideration given England’s lack of young strikers. The 21-year-old is also eligible to represent the USA and Nigeria. Wright believes the Three Lions could lose him long-term if they do not offer him a senior cap with Southgate’s comments potentially dissuading.
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“If we want to talk about a No 9s, Harry Kane’s not going on forever,” Wright explained on his podcast Wrighty’s House. “We need as many quality No 9s coming through as we can. I think that he has to get a mention.
“He scores goals at an alarming rate. We’ve got to find that next No 9 is going to be able to score goals to win us games in those tournaments. And at the moment, it’s not there. It’s not there at the moment. So I would say don’t say things maybe at this point to dissuade somebody from having a go.”
Wright also backed the youngster to keep scoring if he returned to Arsenal in the summer. Reports have suggested that Arteta would be open to selling him but Wright has argued his newfound confidence would make him a valuable asset to any team.
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“He’s gone to another level in confidence. I think that anywhere he goes in respect of leagues, he will do what he’s doing with the right service anywhere. What’s happened is while he was here [at Arsenal] and we saw him playing a few games for us, and he didn’t get to the places where he could get the chances and take the chances what we’ve him seen take in France.
“People might say I was because of the league but they can say whatever they want. It’s the way he’s taking those chances. His head is in a different place. Now he knows he can do it and I guarantee if he comes back he probably picks up from what he’s doing in Ligue 1.”
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