Super Eagles defender Ola Aina has thrown a cheeky jab at England player of Nigerian descent Fikayo Tomori over his decision to represent the Three Lions ahead of Nigeria.
The Calgary-born defender was also eligible to represent Canada, England, and Nigeria at international level but opted to play for the English side and was invited to the national team by Gareth Southgate in 2019 following an impressive season with Chelsea.
After being called up by Southgate, the 25-year-old insisted that he had no doubts about committing his international future to England.
Over three years since he made his debut for England in a Euro qualifier against Kosovo where he made a six minutes cameo, Tomoori had made only two other appearances and was even overlooked for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar despite his impressive performance for AC Milan in the Serie A.
In an interview with the TBG podcast, Aina, who equally represented England at various youth levels before switching his international allegiance to Nigeria, said he was left surprised with the defender’s snub in the English team especially considering that his form during Milan’s triumphant Scudetto-winning campaign was arguably better than some of his English counterparts.
“At first, I wanted to say maybe it is because he is playing out of England, but then it’s not like he is out of England and he is playing for Torino or somewhere worse than Torino,” Aina said.
“He is playing for AC Milan, you know. That’s no joke, they even won the league and made it to the Champions League final, and even if they haven’t done that, the team, the history itself, it talks for itself.
“It’s really strange because especially the year they won the Scudetto he was really doing very well more than the man back home.
“If you look at the stats Tomori has been better than him (Maguire).”
Aina added that he had indulged in some light-hearted teasing of Tomori in private, insinuating that the Nigerian setup might have offered a more welcoming platform.
Aina recounted his words to Tomori, “That England thing, honestly, it’s easy for me to say it to him; sometimes I joke with him like I told you about the Naija thing (switching to Nigeria).
“It’s easy for me to say that to him because I wasn’t in the position where I could possibly get an England debut. I am just talking from my own experience.”