Chelsea’s Ben Elliott switches international allegiance to Cameroon after representing England under-16s, with the 20-year-old part of Rigobert Song and Samuel Eto’o’s plan to recruit players with dual nationality
- Ben Elliott has been among Chelsea’s most promising under-21 stars this season
- He is now set to make his full international debut for Rigobert Song’s Cameroon
- It comes after the 20-year-old previously represented England under-16s
Chelsea youngster Ben Elliott has switched international allegiance from England to Cameroon after a charm offensive from the African nation’s manager Rigobert Song and federation president Samuel Eto’o.
Highly-rated academy midfielder Elliott, 20, is now on course to become a full international before making his professional debut after being included in Cameroon’s senior squad for their upcoming Africa Cup of Nations qualifying double header against Namibia at the end of this month.
Elliott joined Chelsea aged eight, was part of the academy group that later included the likes of Jamal Musiala and Tino Livramento, and represented England at under-16 level before a serious knee injury contributed to his progress for club and country being interrupted for more than two years from the age of 15.
However, he has overcome that setback to resume his Chelsea career and been one of their standout performers at under-21 level this season.
His displays earned him a place in Graham Potter’s 25-man Chelsea squad for their mid-season training camp in Abu Dubai, a trip which helped put him on the radar of Cameroon officials.
Ben Elliott has showed considerable promise for Chelsea under-21s this season
The 20-year-old has been part of the Chelsea set up since he was eight and has represented England under-16s
Cameroon manager Rigobert Song and Samuel Eto’o, president of their football federation, have been looking to recruit players of dual nationality
The presence of his full name – Benjamin Njongoue Elliott – on the team sheet for Chelsea’s friendly against Aston Villa in Abu Dhabi played a part in alerting them to his Cameroon roots.
Cameroon had previously been in nearby Qatar for the World Cup.
As they look to build on a third-place finish in their World Cup group, Cameroon are keen to bring through a new generation of players and are actively on the lookout for those of dual nationality.
Elliott, who has been training with Chelsea’s first team this week, is eligible for Cameroon through his father.
And legendary former defender Song and striker Eto’o combined to explain their plans for the national team to Elliott and convince him to make the switch.
Cameroon begun their AFCON qualifying campaign with a 1-0 win in Burundi last June and can seal their place in next year’s Ivory Coast tournament when they face Namibia on March 23 and 28.
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