Agent Matt Turner? USMNT goalkeeper reveals talks with Folarin Balogun at Arsenal and why national team decision has to come from the heart

Folarin Balogun celebrate Reims 2022-23Getty Images
  • Turner speaks about Balogun friendship
  • Says allegiance choice needs to come from the heart
  • USMNT set for Nations League matches

WHAT HAPPENED? Balogun's international future has been a major talking point in recent weeks as the on-loan striker has lit up Ligue 1 with Reims. Balogun has 17 goals in Ligue 1 this season while on loan at Reims, and he is eligible to play for England, the U.S. and Nigeria.

The striker was recently called up to play for England's U21s, but was forced to withdraw due to injury. He has played for England's youth ranks more recently than the USMNT and, if he were to switch to the Stars and Stripes, Arsenal teammate Turner says it would have to be a choice that comes from the heart.

WHAT THEY SAID: "I've spoken to Flo," Turner said. "We obviously had most of our preseason together and I knew going into it that he had some roots in the U.S., so he and I developed a relationship pretty quickly. That's pretty much the extent of it. We check in on each other here and there.

"He'd be a great addition to our national team. I think he's done really well, obviously, for his club on loan, and we'll see. The decision has to come from the heart because it's not necessarily an easy task always to come and play in these CONCACAF games. It's a tough region at times. So for us, we'd be really grateful to have him but his heart needs to be in it."

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Balogun could prove to be the answer the USMNT has been looking for at the striker position, with much of the 2022 cycle being defined by the inability to find a true goal scorer. Ricardo Pepi, Josh Sargent, Daryl Dike, Jesus Ferreira, Jordan Pefok, Haji Wright and Brandon Vazquez are among the players pushing for that spot to open the 2026 cycle.


Folarin Balogun England 2022-23Getty ImagesMatt Turner World Cup 2022Getty

WHAT NEXT FOR USMNT? The U.S. will face Grenada on Friday in their return to the Nations League before hosting El Salvador in Orlando on Monday.