How USA star Younes Moussa could play for England


Al Rayyan, Qatar — Yunus Musa will be a focal point for US Men’s National Team when it encounters England In an important World Cup group stage match on Friday, but he was very close to playing for the other team.

In fact, if not for a quirk of scheduling caused by the COVID-19 pandemic two years ago, Moussa – who spent his teenage years growing up in London and representing England’s youth national teams – might have instead featured in the Three Lions Will be

“We talked about it so much because there were so many emotions,” Abdul, Musah’s older brother, told ESPN. “Looking back, the situation was very unusual. But I remember picking up Younus at the airport the first time he came back from America and I said, ‘How was that?’ And he looked at me and said, ‘I’m not going anywhere else.'”

This conclusion sounds simple enough, but reaching it was actually quite complicated. Musah’s initial time with the US came in November 2020 – a match window that would normally have staged World Cup qualifiers, but included only friendlies due to global travel chaos amid the pandemic. This turned out to be a significant development for Moses as by rule, a player with qualification for multiple countries commits to one country only after playing in an official game at a senior level. Friendship doesn’t count.

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Therefore, if there were regularly scheduled qualifiers instead of exhibitions, Musah, who was born in New York City to Ghanaian parents (his mother was on leave at the time) and grew up in Italy and England, would probably : He would have refused. America’s invitation to camp. Abdul said, “I don’t think he would have left if he had known that leaving would lead to a decision.”

“We talked about it at home. We should be very grateful to him,” Abdul said, referring to his brother who played more than 30 matches for England at youth level. “But ultimately the decision comes down to: Can you choose them for what they’ve done?”

“Obviously they tried to persuade us to stay. Some might argue they could have done more. But Yunus wanted to give it a try.”

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Musa’s connection with the other young rising stars on the US team was immediate. Obviously playing time and a more central position within a team are always a dual-national factor, but despite the family’s ties to London, Abdul said he could see his brother’s passion against the US in those first appearances. can feel immediately after wales And panama,

América initially made contact with Musa through Nico Estevez, an assistant of América, who had ties to Musa’s club, the Spanish LaLiga side. Valencia, Musa’s interactions with US coach Greg Berhalter were certainly positive, but what really interested him was the atmosphere he felt among the players in camp.

“It feels like we’ve seen each other or met each other before,” Musah told ESPN after finalizing his decision. “And that helps because I’m new, and they welcomed me really well. In the end, we played two games really well and had fun.”

Although he is less famous than casual American fans christian pulisicFor example, Musah — who will turn 20 on November 29, the day the US faces Iran In his final group stage match — many observers’ pick to become the next American breakout superstar. His presence in midfield and his ability to take the ball forward in dangerous positions can turn a game, while his personality — he unofficially has the biggest smile on the U.S. team — is a constant cheer.

Abdul says that his brother has always been like this, adding that their entire family has grown up to be polite and grateful to him. In fact, when Musah was considering which English academy team to join, he was on the verge of signing Chelsea but joined armory at the last moment because it was close to his home in East London, and the old-style clubhouse reminded him of the more shabby team he played for as a boy in Italy. Abdul said, “The moment you entered, it felt like home.”

Musa’s whole life seems like a strange mix, with Ghanaian, English, Italian and American sensibilities. The only Muslim on the US team, he has been very aware of the differences that come with being in Qatar – the call to prayer can often be heard during American training – but the truth is that his daily routine has always been a mix of cultures. .

At home in Spain, Moussah and Abdul, who live with him, dip into and across multiple languages, sometimes defaulting to Italian but English if they’re talking about the Premier League. switching on. They love Ghanaian food, such as jollof rice, but are still very picky about preparing their pasta in the northern Italian style as Musaha lived there until he was nine. His humor may skew more British, Abdul said, while Musa’s music and entertainment took on the flavor of Haig American. If he catches a cold, they fall back on Ghanaian herbal remedies.

This is a tapestry. And for Musa, the comfort he feels when he’s with his American teammates never ceases to matter. He can express himself both as a person and as a player. And that ability inspires a joy in him that makes his entire family grateful.

Abdul said, “From that first time, he felt like he belonged.” “England was amazing for him. But he takes great pride in representing the USA. That’s where he wants to be.”

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