Unlike in the past, international allegiance isn’t as straight as it once was, with a level of fluidity added to the situation in recent years.
There are numerous cases of players swapping allegiance, even when they’ve featured for another country at some point previously.
That was the case the for Bournemouth’s Phillip Billing, a Denmark international, who seemingly had Nigeria chasing his allegiance as well, something he only discovered because of Everton forward Alex Iwobi.
BT in Denmark cover the situation today and explain that around a year ago Nigerian newspapers were claiming the Nigerian Football Federation would try to persuade Billing to swap Denmark for the Super Eagles, as his father is Nigerian.
They never officially approached the midfielder, though, so he went about his business as usual and continued as a Denmark international.
That official approach is yet to arrive, but, he explains there was a specific enquiry, courtesy of Everton’s Iwobi.
“I only saw it in the media back then. I hadn’t even heard of it. I had not heard from Nigeria or the country coach. So, there was nothing in it for me,” Billing tells BT.
“It wasn’t until we (Bournemouth) were going to play against Everton a couple of weeks ago when Alex Iwobi asked if I might be interested in coming and playing for Nigeria.
“He said the coach had asked for me. It was the first time I heard anything concrete myself.
“It’s a pat on the back that another country would like you to play for them. I just take that with a shrug and proof that you are doing well.”