ENGLAND’S U21 manager Lee Carsley has advised Arsenal’s Nigerian-born striker Folarin Balogun to leave the club and go out on loan to enable him, get valuable playing time if he wants to realise his true potential.
Balogun, 20, played for the Arsenal first team six times in the Carabao Cup and Europa League, last season and committed his future to the club by signing a new long-term contract that kept him at the Emirates Stadium for the foreseeable future. A Hale End Academy graduate, Folarin was promoted to Arsenal’s first team before the start of the current season but is yet to see any action.
Mr Carsley has pointed out that it would be difficult for Balogun to get regular playing time at Arsenal as he is behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Martinelli in manager Mikel Arteta’s pecking order of strikers. This has limited his game time to 77 minutes from a possible 1,260 in all competitions this season.
According to Mr Carsley, U23 football is too easy for Balogun and the statistics back his claim as he has scored nine goals in eight appearances in the league this season. Speaking ahead of England U21s Euro qualifier against Czech Republic, Mr Carsley said Folarin needs to play where he will be more tested.
Mr Carsley said: “Watching him in the Under-23s for Arsenal, it’s probably a little bit too easy for him as he’s passed that level. I imagine he wants to play for Arsenal and pushing for a position but it’s such a big club with a lot of competition.
“They’ll have a career path for him and a way to break through because he’s got all the attributes.” During England’s win over Czech Republic U21s on Thursday night, Balogun made a good impression, scoring 30 minutes into his starting debut for the age group.