Dele Alli was consistently booed and berated by opposition fans during England's 2-1 victory over Nigeria on Saturday due to the fact he chose to play for the Three Lions as opposed to playing for the Super Eagles.
Alli has a Nigerian father, but was born in Milton Keynes and has resided in the UK for his whole life. Despite only playing for England youth teams, making it clear where his loyalties lie, Nigerian fans made their displeasure with the midfielder rather apparent, taking every opportunity they could to boo the 22-year-old when he was on the ball.
The abuse may also stem from the fact that the Tottenham star has previously changed the name on the back of his international shirt, because he felt no connection with the surname Alli. Alli has cut off ties to his Nigerian father, a multi-millionaire businessmen, and some Nigerian fans may have taken this as a snub towards their country.
England fans were quick to jump to Alli's defence, despite the bad reputation he has earned himself over the past few seasons in the Premier League, and they expressed their confusion at the Nigerian fans' antics on Twitter.
Nigeria fans booing Dele Alli as if he was ever going to play for them...— Team FA (@TeamFA) June 2, 2018
Nigerian fans understandably booing Dele Alli who chose to play for the country he was born in and has lived in his entire life, instead of playing for Nigeria, the country of his father, who he hates.— GeorgeWeahsCousin (@WeahsCousin) June 2, 2018
Some Nigerians are hypocrites, you're booing Dele Alli cause he chose England over Nigeria and you know deep down if you had the privilege you'd do the same.— Olabode🇳🇬 (@the_olabode) June 2, 2018
Really did not know there was so much animosity between Nigerian football supporters and Dele Alli. He was born in Milton Keynes!— Sam Cunningham (@samcunningham) June 2, 2018
Despite the abuse, Alli had a reasonable match and was instrumental during England's very promising first-half performance, patrolling the midfield and creating plenty of opportunities for both Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling.
England fans will be hoping that Alli can continue this high level of performance as England look to finalise their preparations before they travel to Russia next week.