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FIFA Confirms Error That Could Affect Arsenal Immediately After Eddie Nketiah England Snub

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Mikel Arteta will already have to deal with the loss of three Arsenal players, and Gareth Southgate’s choice may cause that number to rise by the start of 2024.

The England manager decided not to include Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah and AC Milan defender Fikayo Tomori in his matchday squad for this evening’s (Tuesday) Euro 2024 qualifier against Italy, according to Sky Sports. Given that there have been no reports of injuries or fitness-related problems, it is assumed that this was a tactical choice.

In reality, Southgate had always been expecting to select a far stronger lineup for the match against the Azzurri after heavily rotating for the 1-0 friendly victory over Australia. As a result, Nketiah was most likely not going to start ahead of Three Lions captain Harry Kane up front.

But after being left out of the matchday squad, witnessing Ollie Watkins score the game-winning goal last Friday, and having Callum Wilson and Ivan Toney as other centre-forward options, could Nketiah already be thinking about his future on the international stage once his eight-month ban for breaking betting laws is over?

Although it may seem strange to ask given that the Arsenal striker recently earned his first England cap, it will be difficult for the 24-year-old to make the squad for the European Championships if the aforementioned options are healthy and available for selection.

Despite this, he may still participate in a significant international competition in 2024 because he is still eligible to represent Ghana because that nation is where his parents were born, and it just so happens that the Ivory Coast will host the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations.

Nketiah can now switch allegiances because he didn’t play in more than three competitive senior games for England before turning 21 and hasn’t participated in the championship stage of an official tournament like the World Cup or a European Championship, as FIFA announced at its 70th annual congress in 2020.

Importantly, Nketiah won’t have to wait another three years to represent Ghana because of his participation in the friendly match against Australia. This is under the condition that, should Southgate call him up for the matches against North Macedonia and Malta later this month, he refrains from playing in a competitive match for England.

A player was previously prohibited from representing another nation under FIFA regulations if they had participated in a competitive match. Declan Rice, the record-breaking acquisition of Arsenal, was able to declare for England despite having three Republic of Ireland caps thanks to this infamous flaw.

Since all of those contests were friendly matches, the midfielder was free to represent his native nation. The door is still open for Nketiah to take a similar route and change his international allegiance to the nation of his parents’ birth, but it is unclear if he will do so.

“Some players are very definite about what they want,” Ghana manager Chris Hughton said, as per talkSPORT, in response to Nketiah’s England debut. “Some are not so sure and some want to see how things develop. I think that’s been the case with Eddie. We would never say never on him switching to Ghana. But it’s always down to what the player wants.”

Tariq Lamptey, who was born in London, and Inaki Williams, who was born in Spain, have so far been convinced by Hughton to move to Ghana. If Nketiah is successful, Arteta and Takehiro Tomiyasu, who will represent Japan at the 2023 AFC Asian Cup over the same time frame, could lose to the AFCON in January.

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