GARETH SOUTHGATE revealed his frustration that Yunus Musah will line up for the USA tonight.
The Valencia midfielder, who featured for England at four youth age groups and was under-18s captain, switched allegiances in March 2021.
Southgate tried to persuade Musah to commit but the 19-year-old, who speaks with a Cockney accent, has now played 20 times for the States.
Asked about tonight’s opponents, the Three Lions manager said: “Firstly, they are very proactive on recruitment.
“They took one of ours which we were not very happy about but fair play.
“Yunus was in our Under-19s and then we went into lockdown.
“He was a player at that stage I had not had a lot of contact with and the decision was made before I had the chance to get to know him well.”
Explaining his decision Musah, who was once described as an “American Paul Pogba” by Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper, said: “I enjoyed my time with England, the coaches and the players, it was amazing.
“But there came a time where I was playing first team at Valencia and the US coaches were talking to me a lot about the projects they had and I felt that I would play a part in it.
“We have a great team in the US and the project could be something big.”
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Prior to joining Valencia in 2019, Musah played for Arsenal at academy level alongside the likes of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe for seven years.
Speaking about his Gunners experience, he said: “Seeing the likes of Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud, I wanted to be like them.
“I was aspiring to be the next step at Arsenal because I was under them.
“I played with Saka and Emile and they’re great players.
“I’m so happy they’re now playing in the first-team at Arsenal but my decision to leave was that I felt that Valencia had a great plan for me.
“They provided me with so much trust as you can see and with everything they were offering it sounded like a great plan.”
Saka is set to start again for the Three Lions tonight, with Southgate expected to name an unchanged starting XI to the one that comfortably beat Iran 6-2 in their group opener.