Nedum Onuoha has admitted he snubbed the chance to play for Nigeria because he was afraid of losing his Manchester City place.
According to him, he was approached twice by the three-time African champions, but he turned it down.
Onuoha was born in Warri, Delta State , but his family emigrated to the UK when he was young.
He received his British citizenship at seven and became eligible to feature for England.
After his breakthrough at City, Onuoha became a regular for the England U20s and 21s, representing them 21 times in four years.
And while the defender waited for a dream Three Lions call-up, the then Super Eagles coach Berti Vogts spoke with him ahead of the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations.
Speaking to Sports Mole, Onuoha said, “In the lead up to the AFCON championships, you could hear how people were speaking ill of it, the timing of it, not taking it seriously and the like, and that frustrated me so I was continually pushing back, pushing back against it and initially when I was [at Man City] under Mancini, I said to Berti Vogts, the then Nigeria manager, that I couldn’t go because I wasn’t comfortable in my club position.
“[At the time, I felt] that you would fall down the pecking order if you decided to go and play for your national team. This would never be the case if you were playing for England or if you were playing for another European nation.”
Onuoha represented City for eight years, playing in 93 league fixtures, before finally leaving for Queens Park Rangers in 2012.