The young midfielder is making an impact in Spain this season and has left two huge footballing nations battling for his long-term future
Aidy Boothroyd says England have not given up hope of convincing Valencia youngster Yunus Musah to choose the Three Lions over the U.S. national team despite his recent call-up to Gregg Berhalter’s senior side.
The 17-year-old is also eligible for Ghana and Italy but he has been with the USMNT having played against both Wales and Panama in friendly matches this month.
Due to only appearing in non-competitive fixtures for the USMNT, the door remains open to other nations. It is unlikely Musah would get a call-up to Gareth Southgate’s senior squad without passing through Boothroyd’s Under-21s and the Young Lions boss is still hopeful of changing the wonderkid’s mind.
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“We knew about him. We have known about it for a little while and I did speak to Yunus’s father,” Boothroyd told reporters. “I know a few coaches in the senior staff spoke to the family as well. We put our hat into the ring.
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“We are keeping a close eye on things. This is the priority where we are at the minute. But he is a very good player and we have got to do our jobs and keep an eye on him.
“There’s only so many players that can play, I am hopeful we will see him in the U21s at some point. I don’t know [if he has made his decision]. I hope he hasn’t because I think if he came here and saw what we are all about that he would really enjoy it.
“But I don’t want to be disrespectful to the brilliant young players we have in his position already. They may even be better than him but that’s the challenge isn’t it?
“That’s the challenge and at some point or other we will miss out on one. Provided we get more right than wrong, that’s the key.”
Musah has already worked at the National Football Centre at St George’s Park having been through the U15s to the U18s while in Arsenal’s academy. England manager Southgate, who coached his way up through the FA’s youth teams to lead the senior side, is aware of Musah’s talent.
“I know John [McDermott, assistant FA technical director] has spoken with the family and they know where we sit with it,” Southgate said last week.
“But also we want to get that balance right of not just pushing him up the age groups quicker than we think is right because we’ve got other boys in the system as well, and we don’t want to promise things that we can’t fulfil.
“He’s going to meet with America this time and experience that. That doesn’t rule him out of being with us moving forward, so, we’ve just got to make sure that the boy and the family know that we think he’s a good player, that he’s on a good trajectory.
“We’re monitoring him. He’s been with us in the last couple of months and we’d very much like his future to be with us.”
Valencia coach Javi Gracia gave Musah a first-team spot this season, which has so far led to eight senior appearances in La Liga. That in turn has led to an international scramble over his future.
The youngster is one of a number of England-eligible young players to hold dual nationality. There are similar debates around the futures of Bayern Munich’s Jamal Musiala, Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah and Brighton’s Tariq Lamptey.
However all of those players remain in Boothroyd’s squad, which has qualified for the U21 European Championship in the summer.