The exceptional teenager is torn between playing for the Super Eagles or the Three Lions and a former Premier League hero, who was once in his shoes, has offered him moral support
Former Nigeria international Peter Osaze Odemwingie has advised Bukayo Saka to seek the views of his parents and follow his heart when deciding his international future. But the ex-West Brom star maintains that Nigeria remains the best choice for the Arsenal youngster.
Saka’s allegiance currently lies with 1966 world champions, England, a country he has represented at various youth levels.
The versatile winger is, however, still eligible to star for three-time African champions, Nigeria, who have reportedly approached him intending to add him to Gernot Rohr’s exciting, young squad.
But former Stoke City and Cardiff City forward, Odemwingie, does not want the Nigeria Football Federation to force or beg the youngster to wear the green-and-white.
“I’m a believer that anything forced or manipulated in life never ends up good,” Odemwingie told ESPN.
“The choice must come from those players. As they said, the door is open, but it has to come from their hearts, and it has to be full commitment without looking back.
“If he says hundred percent, I’m ready, I want to play for Nigeria, even if I’m in Real Madrid and World Player of the Year. If he says that himself, then you know, you can cap him now.”
Odemwingie was once in Saka’s shoes with the ex-Lille star choosing to play for Nigeria after having excelled as a youth international for Russia.
Three AFCON bronze medals, one Olympic Games silver medal, and two FIFA World Cup finals appearances later, the one-time Locomotive Moscow star has no regret deciding for Nigeria, and he has urged Saka to do the same.
“Obviously, some Nigerian boys will choose differently, like Tammy Abraham. I don’t think it has anything to do with lack of interest for his roots or his Nigerian background. You have to respect everybody’s choice.
“But I will advise guys like that to play for Nigeria.”