Thierry Henry has reacted to Arsenal forward Folarin Balogun switching international allegiance from England to the USA.
The Arsenal legend stated that the ‘choice was obvious’ and Folarin Balogun will be a ‘great, great’ player for the USMNT because they ‘need a number nine’, as he told CBS Sports.
The 21-year-old, who was born in New York, has repped England’s under-age groups, including the USA U18s, and most recently, England’s U21s.
But with the Hale-End academy star enjoying a breakthrough season in France with Reims, where he is on a season-long loan, he has decided to take a major step in his career.
Unless there is a dramatic drop-off, this all but confirms that Balogun should be leading the USMNT’s forward line for when they co-host the 2026 World Cup.
France legend Henry reacted to this news, as he also added that Balogun now needs to think about his long-term future in north London.
“I think it’s a great one because they (USA) are missing a number nine,” said Henry. “Now, for him, it’s going to be important for him that he has to play. I don’t know if he’s going to play for Arsenal.
“But we also know the national team of England. You are going to have to battle with Callum Wilson, well he had to battle with Callum Wilson, Toney, Ollie Watkins, Tammy Abraham and Harry Kane. And we pass on players.
“The choice is a bit obvious, if I would say. But he’s a great, great, great player for the US because they are missing that type of player, especially a nine. And he has been great in the league (with Reims).
“He’s a good nine. Now he’s going to have to find a team where he is going to play next year. Very important also.”
BALOGUN IS USA’S NEW NUMBER NINE
This is the correct call from the Arsenal-owned player because he was going to struggle to get ahead of the number nine pack forming behind Harry Kane at St George’s Park.
Ivan Toney has hit 20 goals for Brentford, whilst Callum Wilson is on 17 for Newcastle United and Ollie Watkins is on 14 for Aston Villa.
All three are cooking in the best league in the world, so for Balogun, who has 19 in 34 in France’s top tier, he has to hit those numbers in the Premier League just to get a look-in for Gareth Southgate’s squad.
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