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The chances of Anglo Nigerian Tunji Akinola breaking into the first team at English Premiership side West Ham is brighter than earlier thought.

Southgate born Akinola is among the longest serving first year at the club as he started from the lowest cadre before making the step up to the U-21s before his 17th year birthday.

A central defender by trade he has shown maturity and calmness at the back that belies his age as evidence in his being a regular with the U-18s whilst still an U-16 as a matter of fact he missed just one game for the U-18s last season.

Akinola rapid rise has lead to talk of the talented teen doing a Reece Oxford next season by playing for the first team before he clock 18 years old.

However his international future is up for grabs as he is yet to feature for England or Nigeria even though he is eligible to play for both nations.

If he can sustain his current growth, it won’t be long before a tussle will ensue between Nigeria and England for his services at international level.

*Daniel Martins