Former Manchester United academy player Tosin Kehinde says he has not given up hope of dorning the green and white colours of Nigeria.
Kehinde who now plays in the Danish Superliga with Randers FC was in the same Manchester United class of 2015 Academy that produced the likes of Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay, goalkeeper Dean Henderson and a host of other youngsters who have developed into big football stars today.
Kehinde was born in Lagos but moved to Manchester with his family at the age of six and has a special kinship with the city.
A recipient of recent man of the match awards with Randers and linked to Queens Park Rangers in January, Kehinde reveals he still harbours an ambition to break into the Nigeria squad after a chance meeting with Nigeria coach, Gernot Rohr in London.
“I do,” he stresses. “I know it’s something I’d like to do. I also know that I need to probably play at a bigger team to get that opportunity, I know it’s something I’m definitely capable of and I do hope to achieve.”
Kehinde came to prominence in December 2017 when he was summoned from the academy building to train with the first-team. United had a sudden midfield shortage due to injuries and Pogba’s suspension and Kehinde had been playing regularly for the Under-23s.
A League Cup quarter-final at Championship club Bristol City was looming but Jose Mourinho, a four-time winner in the competition, picked a formidable squad that was still vanquished by Corey Smith’s added time winner.
“It wasn’t a thing where it was nailed on,” Kehinde says. “It was just like whenever they wanted to call people up and you were one of the people chosen.
“It would be mainly between [then academy head] Nicky Butt and the coaches, if they needed players for the training Nicky Butt and the coaches would decide among themselves who’d be sent over.
“It was good. Just training with the first-team in general shows you the level. You’re at Manchester United, you’re playing and the standard is very high.
“When you go to the first-team that goes up another gear. It was just an environment you wanted to be around all of the time, you wanted to be around amazing players and the speed of everything…”
Kehinde has featured 41 times in all competitions for Randers FC and has scored twice and provided four assists.