Ghana claim Emmanuel Frimpong chooses African nation over England

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The Independent Online

Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong has turned his back on England and will play international football for Ghana, according to Ghana Football Association president Kwesi Nyantakyi.

Frimpong was born in the Ghana capital of Accra but moved to north London at the age of 14 and has gone on to represent England at Under-16 and Under-17 level since joining the Gunners.

The 19-year-old was called up to Stuart Pearce's England Under-21 squad for their matches against Israel and Azerbaijan but withdrew from the party last week with a foot injury.

The midfielder was at Craven Cottage last night to watch his countrymen play Brazil, fuelling talk he was ready to commit to the Black Stars.

Nyantakyi revealed today he met with Frimpong in a central London hotel after the 1-0 defeat, and the Gunners player confirmed his intention to represent Ghana.

"He will play for Ghana," Nyantakyi said. "We had a meeting last night and he told me he wants to play for Ghana. We will send off all the necessary paperwork to FIFA now and we hope to have everything concluded within two or three months.

"I am very happy for this because he is a good player."

Frimpong starred for Arsenal in pre-season last year but had his campaign cut short by a serious knee injury.

The combative midfielder has made four appearances this term though and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger rates him so highly that he has recommended that England secure his services quickly.

Ghana boss Goran Stevanovic revealed last night that he had spoken with the player about his international future last week after landing in London ahead of last night's defeat in the English capital.

"I am very interested in him," Stevanovic said. "He is a good player. He plays for Arsenal. They are a good club.

"Everything is possible.

"I wanted to speak to him to give him my vision of the future of the game."

John Pantsil, who captained Ghana in last night's 1-0 defeat at Craven Cottage, thinks Frimpong will improve as a player if he plays for Ghana.

"If he decides to play for Ghana he will have a chance to come and improve. He is from Ghana. We have lots of young players coming up. Frimpong is one of those and he would be good for the team," Pantsil said.

"I haven't spoken to him about it. That will be up to the (Ghana) football association."

Frimpong will no doubt have been encouraged by Ghana's impressive performance against five-time world champions Brazil last night in south-west London.

Leandro Damiao won the match for Brazil on the stroke of half-time, but had Daniel Opare not been sent off for Ghana 10 minutes earlier, the result could have been much different.

For former Fulham favourite Pantsil, last night's return to the ground where he played for three years was an emotional affair.

Pantsil, now at Leicester, said: "It was great. This for me is home. It's always good to be back home. This is the place that I started to improve my game and I was so excited to come back and play."

The night also proved memorable for Bristol City's Albert Adomah, who came on in the second half to make his international debut.

The 23-year-old has only made six appearances for City since moving from Barnet last summer and now hopes he can have an extended run in the team.

"This is the first time I've played for my country and hopefully I've shown them what I can do going forward. In the space of time I had, I thought I did well," he told www.bcfc.co.uk.

"I'm delighted and hopefully if I get another chance I'll take it."

Adomah's skill allowed him to take the ball past two-time world player of the year Ronaldinho at one point and the midfielder could not resist a cheeky dig at the 31-year-old former Barcelona star, who was criticised for being overweight last year.

"It's not too hard going by Ronaldinho because he was carrying a truck," he said.

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