EXCLUSIVE: Gareth Southgate is tussling with France and two other countries to convince Michael Olise to play for England… with the Crystal Palace star’s international future up in the air amid his impressive Premier League form
- Michael Olise has impressed since joining Crystal Palace back in the summer
- The 20-year-old is already attracting interest from Chelsea, Arsenal and Lille
- Olise’s international future remains up in the air despite his rapid rise this season
- He is leaning towards staying with France, whom he played for at Under-18 level
- But Gareth Southgate is also trying to convince the player to choose England
Gareth Southgate is trying to convince Crystal Palace midfielder Michael Olise to switch international allegiance from France to England.
The FA have held talks with Olise but the 20-year-old is leaning towards staying with France, whom he has represented at Under 18 level.
Olise was born in London to a Nigerian father and French-Algerian mother so is eligible to play for four different countries, leading to a tug-of-war over his national side.
Gareth Southgate (R) is trying to convince Crystal Palace’s Michael Olise to play for England
In just half a season at Palace since signing from Reading last summer, Olise has had a major impact — making 21 Premier League appearances and attracting interest from clubs all over Europe.
Southgate has not given up trying to tempt Olise, with talks said to be ongoing and the player in no rush to decide. His last appearance for France Under 18s came three years ago and last March he was named on the standby list by Nigeria for two Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches, but did not join up with the squad.
The FA have been increasingly proactive in trying to secure the allegiance of dual nationality players in recent years but often with little success. Bayern Munich midfielder Jamal Musiala opted to stay with Germany last year and Valencia’s Yunus Musah switched his allegiance to the United States two years ago, while Wilfried Zaha and Victor Moses have rejected England call-ups to play for the Ivory Coast and Nigeria respectively.
Olise has impressed for Palace since joining the club from Reading back in the summer
Olise is another product of Chelsea’s world-renowned academy but he left the club as a 14-year-old for Manchester City before signing for Reading, making his first-team debut in the Championship three years ago at the age of 17.
Olise was named Championship Young Player of the Year last season and earned an £8million move to Palace.
Patrick Vieira is likely to face a battle to keep hold of his player in the summer, with Chelsea, Arsenal and Lille among the clubs interested.