Both players were at Chelsea’s Cobham training facilities at the same time but Nketiah was released by the Blues in the under 14 level. He moved on to Arsenal where he rose to the senior team while Hudson-Odoi rose to the senior team of Chelsea.
Both forwards have featured prominently for the England Three Lions age-grade setups, with Nketiah’s exploits at the side the best in recent history. The Arsenal striker is the highest goal scorer for the England U-21 side with 16 goals, breaking Alan Shearer’s record of 13.
Unlike Nketiah, however, Hudson-Odoi has been capped twice in official competitions and once in friendlies by the senior national team, becoming the youngest player to both debut for England on the senior level and the second youngest to earn a start after Wayne Rooney. Both his caps came in 2019, and he has not been called up since then.
With both players now looking unlikely to represent England, they have now chosen to turn out for Ghana, who they both rejected on multiple occasions at different points in their careers.
Hudson-Odoi is Ghanaian on his father’s side while Nketiah is a British citizen of full Ghanaian descent. Both players are reported to have been convinced by the Ghanaian Football Association who met with the players and their parents.
The fact that Gareth Southgate, England manager, has numerous options to choose from in attack also counted towards their decision to switch nationalities. Hudson-Odoi is also helped by new FIFA rules that allow players with three or fewer official caps for one nation to be able to switch to another nation if those caps came before their 21st birthday.
Southgate’s pool will be smaller but Ghana’s pool will become bigger in terms of attacking talent from the best footballing leagues in the world. Ghana will take on Portugal, Uruguay and South Korea in Group H at the World Cup in Qatar.
However, pending the switch, both are still eligible for callups and with the international window coming up soon, both could turn out for Southgate’s England before they switch nationalities.