KRC Genk forward, Ike Ugbo, has admitted his father encouraged him to switch his allegiance to Nigeria after representing England at the youth level.
Ugbo qualified by birth to play for England having been born in Lewisham, Greater London.
And he excelled for the country’s under-17 and under-20 teams.
As recently as 2017, the forward scored once in three appearances as England’s under-20 side won the Toulon Tournament.
But despite being at Chelsea before he turned ten and signing his first professional contract with the Blues in 2017, Ugbo did not make a single appearance for the senior team in four years.
And after spending time on loan at Barnsley, MK Dons, Scunthorpe United, Roda JC, and Cercle Brugge, Ugbo left the European Champions for Genk permanently this summer.
His low-profile transfers have dimmed the 23-year-old’s chances of representing the Three Lions, but he insists he could have earned his place with time.
But talking to the PA news agency as per Denbighshire Freepress, Ugbo confirms that his Nigerian father’s love for the Super Eagles and the better chance of fulfilling his ambitions played crucial parts in his decision of dumping England.
“I know I could wait, but I felt, when there are big competitions coming up, I want to make my name,” he said.
“Who knows, I could end up at the World Cup next year.
“Dad always wanted me to play for Nigeria because that’s where he was born and brought up. That’s one thing he would love.”