England Under-21 coach Lee Carsley has claimed that Folarin Balogun needs testing, having outgrown the Under-23s where he is currently stuck at Arsenal.
The forward started our opening match of the senior, most likely down to both Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette having been missing with injury and illness. He struggled to make his mark in the game against Brentford and was later replaced by Gabriel Martinelli.
Balogun then came off the bench in the next fixture against Chelsea and also failed to impress, and has only made the bench in the EFL Cup since, picking up just seven minutes against Wimbledon, but has largely found himself playing for the Under-23s this season instead.
The 20 year-old has now joined up with the England Under-21 side as they prepare to take on the Czech Republic and Georgia, and the manager claims that he is too good for the Under-23s, and needs ‘testing’.
‘He’s probably missed out on that little bit of senior football. You need testing,’ Carsley as quoted by the Metro.
‘Watching him in the Under-23s for Arsenal, it’s probably a little bit too easy for him and 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. He’s level-headed, wants to work hard, asks really good questions. He wants information. He’s picking Ashley [Cole] and Joleon [Lescott]’s brains on defenders.
‘I think it would be fair to say that a lot of the clubs in Europe would be aware of Flo’s qualities and if anything he has just got to keep proving it to himself.
‘He is the only person he’s got to impress and look himself in the mirror. He’s got outstanding ability, attributes and work-rate and he is a player that people look forward to seeing.’
I feel like he is behind all of Lacazette, Aubameyang and Nketiah on what he has shown, and a loan should really be considered for him in the coming window.
I would be a little against him leaving England to get experience however, as it doesn’t always translate to the English game, nor would it be in our best interests for him to enjoy his time abroad too much, especially with European clubs believed to be keen on his signature already. That is assuming that the club still intends to break him into the first-team and not sell him of course…