He was an academy star at Arsenal and captained England youth teams, but it was being born on a family holiday to New York that paved the way for Valencia midfielder Yunus Musah to realise his World Cup dream.

England manager Gareth Southgate suggested he would like Musah’s future to be with the Three Lions. But the 19-year-old, who was also eligible for Ghana, chose the United States.

On Friday, he may well come up against one of his former academy team-mates in Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka as the US take on England in their second match in Group B in Qatar.

“I am both really – English and American,” Musah told BBC Sport. “I had a great time at England. I loved every time, had a lot of camps, great people and everything.

“It came to a point where I was playing in the first team [at Valencia] and playing in the under-19s when I went to the national team.

“Gregg (Berhalter, USA manager) called me and told me about the project with the US. He told me how much he wanted me in the team and I was just 17 at the time. For a first-team manager to want me that badly really helped my decision.

“Things happen in mysterious ways, I was born in the US for a reason. Now I’m playing for the national team and I’m loving it. I’ve had to make a few big decisions in my career and they have paid off.”

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