England in tug-of-war with USA over former Arsenal ace Yunus Musah

Gareth Southgate has confirmed England are in a tug-of-war over Valencia teenager Yunus Musah.

Musah, 17, a former Arsenal trainee, was born in New York and has now won two caps for the United States despite playing for England through the age groups up to Under-18s level.

Midfielder Musah, who is eligible to play for the US, England, Italy and Ghana, is playing regularly in La Liga and Southgate admits the FA are trying to persuade him to join up with the Under-21s as he has only played in friendlies for the US.

Three Lions boss Southgate said: “With Yunus, we were in contact with his family. (Head of development) John McDermott has been looking after that in the short-term but I know all of our coaches in the junior teams have been very pleased with him.

Southgate wants to persuade Yunus Musah to declare for England

“It is obviously not ideal that he’s had this period with the United States but he can still transfer across because they were friendlies.

“There is a carrot there is a team comes in and offers you a senior cap, we understand that is attractive but we are not willing to fast track somebody just to secure them.

“We are showing all the time there is a pathway there for young players and opportunities for young players with us, we’d like Yunus to be one of those, we recognise his ability, so we’re hopeful to keep talking and hopefully he’s back in an England shirt.”

Meanwhile Southgate has explained the necessary balance his current crop of “fearless” youngsters possess to help England win next summer’s Euros.

Southgate said: “Generally speaking young people have less fear. They have more belief in what is possible. I think they are allowed more freedom than we were when we were younger and each generation increases that and loosens those strings a bit.

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The 17-year-old midfielder has already earned two caps for USA in friendlies
The 17-year-old midfielder has already earned two caps for USA in friendlies

“There is a balance with that because they still need guidance and still need good role models around them and the senior players help that happen.

“When you say how comfortable young players look, that is a great credit to the senior players.

“They allow them to express themselves but they demand that respect. The young players have found a nice balance.”

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