The form of Bournemouth midfielder Philip Billing has brought up talks about his nationality as he is eligible to represent Nigeria at senior level despite playing three games for the senior national team of Denmark.
He qualifies for Nigeria through his father and three years ago when the then coach of the senior national team of Nigeria Gernot Rohr sought to have him play for Nigeria, it ended in a controversial way. According to Rohr it was the player’s agent who approached him that his client wants to play for Nigeria.
Rohr said : “Billing’s agent called me and he said that he is interested to come to Nigeria because he is not playing so much in Denmark. So he wanted me to call [Billing]. I said I don’t have his number, so he gave me his number. [When I called Billing] he asked me some questions about the Nigerian team.
“And he said, ‘I am very, very interested to come with you, but give me some time. I think the agent is using this interest to give him more importance or more chances to play in Denmark”, Rohr told ESPN
Billing however granted an interview where he stated that he is still committed to Denmark, the team he has played a combined 45 minutes in two games since his debut in 2020. He was not considered for the World Cup in Qatar as well.
Billing told Danish news outlet BT in 2020: “It would be strange to stand up for Nigeria when I feel 100 percent Danish. Of course, I have Nigerian roots and I am half Nigerian, but I was raised and born in Denmark.
“[Rohr] just said he really wanted me to play for Nigeria because the upcoming World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations will be played soon. I made it pretty clear to him that I wanted to play for Denmark. That’s my big dream.”
Speaking on his goal against Arsenal, which is the second fastest in the history of the English Premier League, former captain of the Super Eagles Mikel revealed he was aware of the move by former coach Rohr and says he feels the time to try again is probably now.
” He was to me the best player on the pitch but I understand why Reiss Nelson was voted man of the match”, Mikel said before he was reminded by the host of the show that Billing could get play for Nigeria. ” I am aware of the effort by the last coach of the team and I think the time to revisit that talk is probably now”, he rounded up saying.
This season Billing has played in all of Bournemouth’s 24 games and presently has five goals plus an assist.