New Super Eagles defender Bright Osayi-Samuel says he nursed the idea of playing for the Turkish national team prior to his invitation to the Eagles, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.
Born in Okija to Nigerian parents 24 years ago, Osayi-Samuel emigrated to England when he was barely 10.
The full-back has since developed into one of the most accomplished defenders in the Turkish league.
The right-back made his full debut for the Super Eagles in the 4-0 defeat to Portugal in a recent friendly.
The Fenerbahce defender was Nigeria’s best player on the night in Lisbon, even winning a penalty that forward Emmanuel Dennis missed.
And in an interview with the Independent (as per Fotospor), Osayi-Samuel revealed he was desperate to play international football and eyed playing for England or Turkey if Nigeria had not come calling.
“I have never played in the lower age categories in England. I have not played in Nigeria, either. I even thought of playing for Turkey,” he stated.
Osayi-Samuel signed his first professional contract for Blackpool in 2015 after impressing in the club’s academy.
But before then the Nigeria international revealed he had the chance to end up at Manchester United.
The youngster’s brilliance at the lower age grade competitions had caught the attention of United’s Scout John McNab, who wanted to take him to Manchester.
But Osayi-Samuel’s parents were able to convince him that signing for Blackpool was a better career choice and he snubbed United.
“He (McNab) wanted to take me to United but I also talked to a coach at Blackpool,” Osayi-Samuel said.
“I talked to my parents and they said I have a much better chance of succeeding at Blackpool.”