West Ham youngster, Michael Dare, has expressed interest in representing Nigeria at U-20 level.
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Nigeria qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup from Africa, alongside champions Senegal and runners-up Gambia, as well as fourth-place Tunisia for the tournament starting from May 20 to June 11 in a yet-to-be-announced venue after FIFA stripped Indonesia of the hosting rights.
The 19-year-old has caught the eye in East London with his impressive performances for the Hammers youth team and is confident of adding value to the Flying Eagles, ahead of the forthcoming tournament.
The Oyo-born winger joined Fleetwood Town three years ago, but was loaned out to non-league side Stafford Rangers, where he caught the attention of scouts from West Ham and was offered a spot on the club’s youth ranks.
Currently playing with the Hammers U-23s, Dare has been described as “tricky and pacy” and possesses the agility required to cope with the demands of the modern day left winger.
“I understand that the competition is tough, with many talented players vying for a spot on the squad, but I remain optimistic that my performance at club level will speak for itself and result in a call-up,” Dare told The PUNCH.
“My dream is to represent Nigeria at youth level and hopefully the senior national team someday. I will be glad to play for my country, if I get the opportunity I will grab it.”
At the global level, the Flying Eagles have been silver medallists on two occasions and won the bronze medal once, as well as reaching the quarter-finals when Nigeria hosted in 1999, in Canada in 2007 and in Colombia in 2011.
Meanwhile, the host for the 23rd edition of the U-20 World Cup is yet to be announced as FIFA stripped Indonesia of the right to stage the competition over what officials claim was a failure to honour its commitments to the tournament.