Welbeck one of four players with African roots to play for England

By on May 25, 2018

England are set to face Nigeria in a friendly in the coming weeks as all roads lead to the World Cup in Russia. Anticipation is certainly continuing to build for fans around the World as final preparations are being made. The latest World Cup Paddy Power odds make England 16/1 shots to go all the way and lift the trophy in Russia. With the friendly against Nigeria ahead, we look at some of the English players current or past who have African roots?

Danny Welbeck

No better place to start than with our very own Danny Welbeck. The 27-year-old has endured a tough time with injuries since joining Arsenal but he’s made 37 appearances for the national side and has never let England down. A versatile attacker, it’s no wonder Gareth Southgate has included Welbeck in his squad for the upcoming World Cup in Russia. His parents were both born in Ghana which was fitting as he made his professional senior debut for England against Ghana that resulted in a 1-1 draw. Welbeck may not have scored regularly for Arsenal but he’s been fairly prolific for his country having scored 15 goals in his 37 caps. He also made appearances for several of the England junior sides including the Under 17’s, 18’s, 19’s and 21’s.

Benjamin Odeje

Odeje was born in Nigeria before moving with his parents over to England. At 15 years of age he was selected for the England schoolboys and went on to be the first black footballer to represent England at any level that included his debut against Northern Ireland at Wembley in 1971. There was a considerable amount of publicity at the time but this was the start of extremely important change for English football.

Wilfried Zaha

Zaha currently plays in the Premier league for Crystal Palace but his excellent form has seen him linked with a big-money move this summer. He was born in the Ivory Coast and is now one of the brightest young talents in the league. He grew up in England from the age of four and made two appearances for the England under 19’s side. He then also made 13 appearances for the under 21’s before being called up to the senior side. However, following two non-competitive appearances he did not play for England again. This was due to him switching his allegiances to Ivory Coast ahead of the 2017 Africa Cup of nations. He has now made 8 appearances for them and is likely to play a major part in the future of the team.

Victor Moses

Moses is the final player to make the list and has rejuvenated his career at Chelsea in recent years. He was born in Nigeria before moving over to England at a young age in which he was scouted by Crystal Palace. A move to Chelsea followed and after spending much of his time out on loan, Moses is now an important first team player under Antonio Conte. He made his England debut in the youth squad at under 16 level before also making appearances for the under 17, 19 and 21 sides. However when reaching the age he opted to play for his born country of Nigeria as opposed to being fully capped at England. He has made 29 appearances for Nigeria and was part of the 2013 Africa cup of nations winning squad.