Nketiah, Saka and England wonderkids who could play for African teams
Once a one of the brightest prospects in Arsenal’s academy, Mavididi departed the Gunners for Juventus in 2018 and is currently in the midst of his first full season in a major European league.
Since signing on loan at Dijon in August, the 21-yearold has netted five times in 20 Ligue 1 fixtures, and continues to refine his game as The Mustards battle against relegation.
The youngster is one of a growing generation of English players eligible to represent both the Three Lions and an African nation, either by virtue of their ancestry or their place of birth.
While the Derby-born attacker has represented England up to U-20 level, as yet, he’s yet to make the step up to the senior side, and remains eligible to play for the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Here are some other English youth internationals who could also go on to represent an African nation at senior level.
It’s been a mixed season for Anglo-Ghanaian Nketiah, who currently has eight goals in eight games for England’s U-21 side.
The striker impressed for the Gunners in pre-season, but Unai Emery opted to allow him to leave on loan to Leeds United.
Despite several fine goals—and praise from Marcelo Bielsa—his time in the Championship was cut short when Mikel Arteta recalled him to the Emirates Stadium ahead of schedule.
An FA Cup goal against Bournemouth last month was just an early glimpse of what can be expected from this hitman, but only if he gets ample gametime to hone his craft.
The talented left-sider burst onto the scene with Fulham in 2016, and became the first footballer born this century to score in the English league during his time with the Cottagers.
While he excelled as the West Londoners reached the Premier League, drawing parallels with David Alaba and Ashley Cole in the process, a move to a European giant never materialised—despite links to Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Manchester United.
He ultimately did leave Fulham for Tottenham Hotspur in August 2019, but to date, has struggled to make his mark—and establish himself in the first team—under either Mauricio Pochettino or his successor Jose Mourinho.
Sessegnon is a distant cousin of Benin great Stephane Sessegnon.
The versatile 20-year-old continues to make progress at Arsenal after returning to the club following last year’s loan move to Hoffenheim.
He’s made 10 league appearances this term, and has also excelled in the cups for the Gunners. He was imperious—scoring and contributing an assist—as Nottingham Forest were dispatched in the EFL Cup in September, and also netted the FA Cup winner against Leeds United last month.
Born in London, Nelson has represented England up to U-21 level, but is eligible for Zimbabwe through his father.
Lamptey was one of the notably African movers of the January transfer window, being allowed to leave Chelsea in order to sign for Brighton & Hove Albion on a three-and-a-half-year deal.
It may appear to be a step back for the England U-20 international, but even though Lamptey was deemed surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge, he should secure more gametime on the south coast.
The 19-year-old right-sider is lightning quick, has superb stamina, and could yet represent Ghana at senior level.
Saka could be Arsenal’s next Nigerian star, as he follows in the footsteps of Nwankwo Kanu and Alex Iwobi in North London.
He’s fast establishing himself as a key figure under Mikel Arteta, where he’s impressed in an unfamiliar left-back position, bringing verve and attacking flair to wide areas.
Worryingly for the North Londoners, both Manchester United and Liverpool have reportedly been keeping tabs on the wonderkid’s services, and the Gunners will surely need to extend the teenager’s deal as soon as possible if they’re to avoid losing him for a cut-price fee.
Perhaps the Premier League’s breakout star of 2020 so far, Tanganga was drafted into the Tottenham first team by Mourinho ahead of last year’s showdown with Liverpool, and while Spurs lost that bout, the Anglo-Congolese youngster gave a good account of himself.
His work with the ball needs work, but Tanganga is a fine athlete, boasts pace and power, excels in close combat with forwards and has already demonstrated his versatility in various defensive positions.
The London-born starlet has already represented England at U-20 level.