Swansea forward Tammy Abraham firmly committed to England
Tammy Abraham says there was never any prospect of pledging his international future to anyone other than England, despite Nigeria making overtures to him earlier this year.
Abraham was born and raised in London but is eligible for Nigeria through his father, who is friends with Amaju Pinnick, president of the country's football federation. Abraham and his father met with Pinnick in September, which led to claims that he had promised his future to Nigeria, claims that the Chelsea forward quickly denied.
Now, after being called up to Gareth Southgate's England senior squad for the friendlies against Germany and Brazil, Abraham maintains that there was never any real prospect of him playing for Nigeria.
"I was pretty set on England really," said Abraham, who has scored four goals in 10 starts since joining Swansea City on loan in the summer. "Playing in the Premier League meant it would be nice to play in the England team as well.
"It was flattering [that Nigeria wanted me], but for me my main focus was here," he continued, when asked if they had "rolled out the red carpet" to persuade him to represent Nigeria.
"They tried to, but like I said the main focus was England. I see myself as being a long-term England player -- I am 100 percent focused here to try and get into that team."
It will be a relief for Southgate to hear that the 20-year-old forward has pledged his international future to England, as there have been some high-profile examples of players with dual national eligibility committing to other nations. Wilfried Zaha played for England in two friendlies but ultimately chose to represent Ivory Coast, while Alex Iwobi was raised in London and represented England at various youth levels, but elected to play for Nigeria, the country of his birth.
Abraham could make his senior debut for England in either of the upcoming games, particularly as Harry Kane has been ruled out after suffering an injury during Tottenham's 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday. This could open the door for Abraham: No replacement striker has been called up, with Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling the other forwards in the squad.
"I feel like I'm ready but it won't be easy," Abraham said, when the prospect of him playing in either game was raised. "I will have to keep proving to the manager why he picked me and working as hard as I can.
"It would be a fantastic thing for me, big confidence boost to show I'm going in the right direction."
Abraham might be particularly motivated to face Germany. He represented the England Under-21s at their European Championships in the summer, where Aidy Boothroyd's team were beaten by the Germans on penalties in the semifinal, with Abraham missing in the shootout.
"You look at Brazil and Germany as the best teams in the world," he said. "It will show us how close we are, we will have to use these teams and show we can be competitive as well.
"We obviously lost in the summer and it would be nice to pay back Germany with a win."
Nick Miller is a writer for ESPN FC, covering Premier League and European football. Follow him on Twitter @NickMiller79.