Nigeria's hope of getting Spurs defender Udogie suffers setback as his agent says he feels Italian

NIGERIA'S hopes of getting Tottenham Hotspurs fullback Destiny Udogie to feature for the Super Eagles have suffered a major setback after his agent Stefano Antonelli revealed that the players feels more Italian than Nigerian.


Born in Verona, Udogie, who joined English Premier League side Spurs in the summer of 2022, has represented Italy at every level from U-16 to U-20. Following his recent exploits in England, the Nigerian Football Federation have considered calling him up to play for the Super Eagles but the players' Italian agent Stefano Antonelli, has dismissed this as wishful thinking.


According to Mr Antonelli, Udogie has made a decision on his international future and this involves him wanting to play for the Azzurri at senior level. Udogie was born to Nigerian parents in Italy, making him eligible to play international football for both nations but according to Mr Antonelli, the player intends to continue playing international football for the Italians.


Udogie has made quite an impression on Tottenham Hotspur supporters since returning to the club from a loan spell at Udinese this season, bagging two assists in five Premier League starts.  He was on the radar of former Italian coach Roberto Mancini and is now being monitored by new boss Luciano Spalletti with a view to handing him a call-up for next month's 2024 European Championship qualifiers against Malta and England.


Mr Antonelli said: "When his uncle asked him which national team he would like to represent when he grew up between Nigeria and Italy, he always answered with the Azzurri. Someone also expressed to us the fear that he might choose Nigeria but it's not conceivable at the moment because he was born in Italy, in Verona, and feels Italian.


"With all due respect to a national team like the Nigerian one which has always participated in the World Cup and the African Cup, he is not denigrating anyone but simply feels totally Italian."


For now, Udogie is provisionally cap-tied to Italy but remains eligible to represent the Super Eagles until he plays a cap-tying game for the Azzurri. Udogie was named on Italy U21s roster for their internationals this month but withdrew from the squad due to illness.