Augustine Eguavoen, Nigeria’s head coach, has admitted that he tried to persuade Agbonlahor to select the Super Eagles over England. The heritage of the former Aston Villa captain entitled him to play for Scotland or Nigeria at international level, but he decided to represent England, his birth country. Eguavoen, who is on his second spell as Nigeria’s coach, revealed that he paid a visit to Villa Park in Birmingham, England, to speak with Agbonlahor about the potential of playing for the Super Eagles.
The retired forward, on the other hand, was uninterested in seeing him and went on to play three times for England, notably in the 2009 FIFA World Cup qualification match against Belarus. “When Agbonlahor was in Aston Villa, I went to England, I tried to reach him on the phone before going to Villa because it’s not a place you just go to, Aston Villa Stadium in Birmingham, and start looking for a player,” Eguavoen said to Elegbete TV Sports.
“The question was why do you want to see Gabriel Agbonlahor? I said I am the coach of the national team, we are interested in him coming to play for Nigeria, I want to have a conversation.
“They said okay they’ll get back to me. They got back to me only to say Agbonlahor is not ready to see anybody at this point in time, maybe some other time,” he added.
“Take for example you invite Agbonlahor from Aston Villa, you’d look stupid if he doesn’t show up, so you must engage people first, discuss and find out if it’s something they want to get into or not.”
Agbonlahor achieved legendary status at Villa, where he scored 87 goals for the club, and he is their all-time leading Premier League goalscorer, with 74 across 11 consecutive league seasons.