England Under-18 Star Yunus Musah Called Up to Senior USA Squad

Jamie Spencer
Yunus Musah has been called up by the USMNT
Yunus Musah has been called up by the USMNT / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Valencia and England Under-18 winger Yunus Musah has been called up to the senior United States squad for this month’s international break.

Having moved to London in 2012 to join Arsenal’s academy ranks, Musah has represented England in four different age groups since 2016. But the teenager, who also lived in Italy for several years as a child, has accepted a place in the USA roster for the time being.

US-born Musah has represented Engand since 2016
US-born Musah has represented Engand since 2016 / James Baylis - AMA/Getty Images

Musah was a highly-rated prospect at Arsenal, but his decision to join Valencia in 2019 when he was still only 16 was motivated by the ambition to play first-team football – his story in that sense somewhat mirrors Jadon Sancho’s decision to leave Manchester City for Borussia Dortmund.

That gamble has paid off big time this season, with the teenager involved with the first team during pre-season and then starting Valencia’s opening game of the new La Liga campaign, filling the void left by Ferran Torres’ summer departure to Manchester City.

He has kept his place in the side, starting five of the seven games since and marking his last outing against Getafe with a goal that made him the youngest foreign scorer in the club’s history.

It is little surprise that his international future should be so hotly debated given his numerous options, including Ghana as a result of his family heritage. Musah was born in the United States in 2002 during a trip his mother took to New York.

Musah is enjoying a breakout season with Valencia
Musah is enjoying a breakout season with Valencia / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Despite his obvious ties to England at youth level, Musah has accepted an invitation from U.S. Soccer to link up with the USMNT for the November international break. He is one of 10 first-time selections in a young squad with an average age of just under 22, and could potentially make his debut in the friendly against Wales in Swansea, just over two weeks before he turns 18.

It isn’t necessarily a final choice from Musah, however, and he could still yet choose either England or Ghana in the future. Friendlies alone, like this month’s match against Wales, cannot permanently tie a player to an international team.

FIFA also recently altered its rules on international eligibility, making it so that a player aged 21 or under can still switch allegiance with up to three appearances, including competitive games, on their record. That is a major change as any competitive fixture would previously lock in players for life.

Musah could play for USA but still switch to England or Ghana
Musah could play for USA but still switch to England or Ghana / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Appearances at World Cups and continental championships, even just one game, are still considered final, though.

It means that Musah could represent the United States this month and still afford to change his mind at a later date should he decide that England or Ghana have more to offer him.

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!