Former England U21 player Nedum Onuoha has explained why he turned down the opportunity to play for Nigeria fourteen years ago.
Born in Warri but raised in England, the Manchester City academy product was contacted by the Nigeria Football Federation in the weeks leading up to the 2010 World Cup but he shunned their advances.
Former Super Eagles manager Shuaibu Amodu also tried to persuade the dual-eligible center back to switch his allegiance from England to Nigeria in 2009 but failed.
German manager Berti Vogts, who coached the Super Eagles 2007-2008, named Onuoha in his first provisional squad in 2007, only for the player to decline the invitation.
In an Instagram Live session with our colleagues Team Nigeria UK, Onuoha explained : “For the first five years of my career, I played for the U20s and U21s of England and the only time I got a call up for Nigeria in my career was from Berti Vogts when he was manager and this was in 2010.
“I got a call up from him saying he wanted me for the AFCON and at that time Roberto Mancini had just become manager at Man City and I was out of his plans and Berti was calling just before the turn of the year.
“This was the first time it happened that I wasn’t part of the first team. I didn’t want to leave and I was worried about leaving for AFCON and having nothing when I come back because people say this is a shop window, it raises your profile and for some people it’s not the case.”
Onuoha revealed that he is proud of his Nigerian heritage and to buttress his point, the 34-year-old sensationally claimed that he never sang England’s anthem whilst on Young Lions duty.
“At the time I was 24 years old, this is what I’m thinking cause I was honest with Berti that I wanted to do it but it wasn’t just the right time.
“From that exact moment, nobody from Nigeria called me again and I was hearing from everywhere that I had turned down Nigeria to beg for England.
” But if you look at it anything the media has said wasn’t true and to add to it I know my identity and I was honored to represent England but anytime I got to play for England I would never sing the anthem because I know my home is somewhere else.
“So I appreciated what I was doing and I was given because I’ve the British passport but I always have the green passport and playing for Nigeria is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Onuoha concluded.