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USMNT confirms talks with England U21 striker Balogun over switch


US caretaker coach Anthony Hudson confirmed Thursday that American officials have met with highly rated Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun amid speculation he could pledge his international future to the United States.

The New York-born Balogun, who moved to England as a two-year-old, could represent the United States, England and Nigeria, the country of his parents birth.

The 21-year-old has impressed this season during a loan spell with French Ligue 1 club Reims, netting 17 goals in 27 appearances.

Although Balogun has played youth football the United States, most of his representative career has been with England.

However recent reports have linked him to an international career with the United States, speculation which intensified this week when it emerged Balogun had been spotted in Florida where the US have been preparing for Friday's CONCACAF Nations League game in Grenada.

Hudson, who is taking charge of the US team this week with the future of former coach Gregg Berhalter uncertain, told journalists on a video-call Thursday that Balogun had met US team officials this week.

"As I've said before, we've had dialogue," Hudson said. "We've spoken. He's out here having a bit of a break and then some training, and we've had some discussions.

"I think it's been good because it's been an opportunity for us just to share about our program and who we are and what we do and that's it. I hope we get the chance to speak with him again. 

"It's been good and I know a few of the guys have spoken to him as well."

United States star Christian Pulisic, who will captain the US against Grenada on Friday, added that he would be happy to welcome Balogun into the fold.

"Obviously, from our side, we'd love to have him," Pulisic said.

Balogun has been given insight into the American set-up by Arsenal team-mate and US goalkeeper Matt Turner.

Turner said earlier this week Balogun would be a welcome addition to the US ranks -- provided he was fully committed.

"He'd be a great addition to our national team," Turner said. 

"The decision has to come from the heart because it's not necessarily an easy task always, to come and play in these CONCACAF games, and it's a tough region at times. 

"So for us, we'd be really grateful to have him - but his heart needs to be in it."

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