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Tammy Abraham eligibility: Will he play for England or Nigeria in international football?

19:01 BST 10/09/2019
Tammy Abraham England U-21 2019
The Blues striker still has time to decide if he wants to play for either the Three Lions or the Super Eagles at senior level

Tammy Abraham has enjoyed an impressive start to the campaign following his return to Chelsea from loan spells, scoring four goals in his first four Premier League appearances for the Blues.

The young striker is emerging as an exciting prospect under the management of ex-Chelsea star Frank Lampard, and Abraham’s talents obviously haven't gone unnoticed – particularly from the NFF (Nigerian Football Federation).

The South London-born Abraham has played for England at every youth level, but has yet to earn his first competitive cap – so could he still decide to play for the Super Eagles?

Is Tammy Abraham eligible to play for Nigeria?

Despite being an England youth international, Abraham is still eligible to play for the Nigeria side through his paternal lineage, as FIFA eligibility rules dictate that a player is only locked in for a particular nation when they have played in a competitive senior international fixture – for example, in a qualifier or tournament.

Though he played for England in the 2019 Under-21 European Championships, it is considered a youth tournament.

He was called up for England's international friendlies against Germany and Brazil in November 2017, but missed out on playing in the September 2019 Euro 2020 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Kosovo.

NFF president Melvin Amaju Pinnick remains hopeful that Abraham will still switch countries while he is allowed to do so.

Should Abraham play in Euro 2020 qualifier by Gareth Southgate over the next few months, however, as a starter or as a substitute, he would be committed to England for the rest of his career.

“We will not relent in our quest for good players to play for the country and win laurels," Pinnick said in September via the Telegraph.

“We will keep talking to good players of Nigerian descent to play for their fatherland. But like you know, these kids are very independent-minded. In fact, we have been told to wait until April 2020, when he hopes to make a final decision on the matter.

“I told him that he stood a better chance of playing regularly for Nigeria than with England, which has a galaxy of strikers of the English stock.”

Will Tammy Abraham switch country allegiances?

Despite Pinnick’s optimism and reports in Nigeria claiming that the striker is still weighing up his decision, it is understood that nothing has changed for Abraham and that he has no intention of switching allegiances from England.

Abraham has iterated in the past that he remains committed to his future with the Three Lions.

“I was pretty set on England really,” he said in 2017 via ESPN.

“It was flattering [Nigeria wanted me], but for me my main focus was here. [Nigeria] tried to [persuade me]. I see myself as being a long-term England player – I am 100 per cent focused here to try and get into that team.”

Previously, Everton forward Alex Iwobi represented England at U-16 and U-18 level until he made the decision to represent the Super Eagles at senior level in 2015, making his debut in October of that year in a friendly against DR Congo.