The American team ready to take on England at the World Cup (but FOUR of them are from England!): Scouse Calvin Klein model and magician, NHS worker’s Cockney son and Sunderland-born star who will face Southgate’s squad tomorrow
They proudly turned out under the Stars and Stripes for the USA’s first World Cup game against Wales.
But three players in the US squad who’ll go on to face the Three Lions tomorrow were actually born in England – with a fourth playing for England’s youth side before making the switch to America.
They are some of 137 footballers not representing their country of birth at the World Cup in Qatar.
Winger Gio Reyna, 20 was born in Sunderland, while Cameron Carter-Vickers, a 24-year-old centre back, hails from Southend-On-Sea.
All four qualify to represent the US through their American lineage, and together they’ve represented the nation dozens of times.
Below, MailOnline takes a look at their interesting back stories.
Antonee Robinson’s energetic performances for the US and Premier League side Fulham make him one to watch on the pitch, but the left back’s talents extend far beyond football.
In addition to playing the piano, the 25-year-old is also an accomplished magician – who wowed fans on social media earlier this year with a mind-blowing card trick that quickly racked up thousands of views.
In the video, Robinson – who goes by the nickname ‘Jedi’ – is seen telling a story while simultaneously flipping over the top card of the deck to match what he is reciting. The ‘Jedi Mind Trick’ clearly impresses his fellow players, who are seen cheering and clapping at the end.
Liverpool-born Antonee Robinson pictured with his fiancee, Darcy Myers. He was born and raised in Halewood, Merseyside
Robinson (pictured with Ms Myers) qualifies for the USA through his father, Tony, a project manager who was born in England but grew up in New York and studied at Duke University before coming back to England and meeting Antonee’s mother, Kelly
‘You know what, a lot of things catch my eye and if I see something that flicks a switch in my head and intrigues me, I want to find out if I’ve got the ability to do it, then I apply myself to learning how,’ Robinson told The Times.
‘Things like the Rubik’s Cube and playing a piano song. That card trick, I saw on a Facebook video when I was 15 and learnt it because I thought it was cool, but it’s not the most impressive card trick I can do. The secret is in the patter. I guess being Scouse helps because we can tell a story.’
Robinson’s Scouse credentials are in no doubt. Born and raised in Halewood, Merseyside, the Fulham star still speaks with a Scouse accent.
He qualifies for the USA through his father, Tony, a project manager who was born in England but grew up in New York and studied at Duke University before coming back to England and meeting Antonee’s mother, Kelly.
In addition to playing the piano, the 25-year-old is also an accomplished magician. He’s seen here doing the ‘Jedi Mind Trick’
Robinson – a Calvin Klein model – qualifies for the USA through his father, Tony, a project manager who was born in England but grew up in New York and studied at Duke University
Tony ran a youth football team, which Antonee turned out for when he was five. A fan of nicknames, Tony typically asked new players what they wanted to be known by – expecting his son to say ‘Thierry’, after his favourite player, Thierry Henry.
Instead, because he’d been watching Star Wars, Antonee replied ‘Jedi’ – a name that’s stuck with him ever since.
As a boy, Robinson attended the Everton academy and, despite an invitation to join the England Under-21 camp, accepted a call up from the US senior team. He’s now an established squad player, with the side’s 1-1 draw against Wales his 30th appearance.
Away from his football career, he’s done modelling for Calvin Klein and Nike. He announced his engagement to Darcy Myers, his girlfriend of three years, in March, and the couple had a baby girl late last year.
Robinson said he ‘couldn’t be happier’ to be drawn against England.
‘I’ve grown up and lived in England my whole life and played against pretty much all of the England squad. So playing England is not intimidating but exciting,’
He announced his engagement to Ms Myers, his girlfriend of three years, in March, and the couple had a baby girl late last year
As a boy, Robinson attended the Everton academy and, despite an invitation to join the England Under-21 camp, accepted a call up from the US senior team
The son of an NHS maintenance worker, Yunus Musah was a product of Arsenal’s academy and spent five years going through the FA’s development system — with ambitions to play for England.
Ambition, however, led the midfielder to turn down the chance to persist with England and to him seeking a move away from Arsenal to join Valencia in order to play football at the highest level. Tomorrow, he will lock horns with some familiar faces.
Musah, who is 19 and speaks with a London accent, knows Bukayo Saka and Jude Bellingham well but he has resisted the opportunity to renew acquaintances with them ahead of a crucial fixture in Group B. What’s more, he has no regrets about saying goodbye.
Yunus Musah, who is 19 and speaks with a London accent, knows Bukayo Saka and Jude Bellingham well
‘I don’t think I know how I’m going to feel playing against England,’ said Musah – who played for the country as a youth
‘I don’t think I know how I’m going to feel playing against England,’ said Musah. ‘But it’s a special game for sure because I’ve played for both sides and to be able to be on the pitch with both national teams that I’ve played with is special.
‘I made the decision (to play for the US) because I was born here (in New York). That was one of the main things.
‘Also, the opportunity at such a young age was something that I wanted to take. It was great when the manager Gregg Berhalter called and gave me that opportunity.’
Musah, who has 20 caps for the US already, added: ‘I played for England for a few years.
‘I had a really nice time with them and a lot of respect for them — for everything they’ve done for me — but Gareth Southgate and I never had any conversations.
‘That decision was very difficult, because, as I said, I had a great time with England and that country did a lot for me — so when the time came to make the decision it was difficult.’
There was a sense of inevitability that Giovanni Reyna would go on to become a global star.
The son of former Manchester City and Rangers midfielder Claudio Reyna and United States women’s international Danielle Egan, Gio, as he is affectionately known to those close to him, was all set from the very beginning to blend his father’s creativity with his mum’s athleticism. Football is indeed in his blood.
Named after his dad’s former team-mate at Rangers, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, the versatile Dutch ace who also starred for Barcelona and Arsenal, expectation was immediately high.
Borussia Dortmund and USA star ‘Gio’ Reyna posing in Dortmund in an advert for Adidas
The 20-year-old was born in Sunderland in 2002 with his dad playing in red and white in the Premier League
To take it right back to the beginning, Reyna, 20, was born in Sunderland in 2002 with his dad playing in red and white in the Premier League.
French fries were his favourite food and Spongebob Squarepants was said to be his TV show of choice.
Early reports of him detailed how he initially possessed an English accent but it soon evaporated as he moved to the United States and into the academy system at NYCFC.
Alongside England, Reyna could have also played for Portugal and Argentina.
He is pictured here arriving at a World Cup qualifier game against Costa Rica with USA head coach Gregg Berhalter
His grandmother Maria is Portuguese and was the reason he was eligible for a European passport. That was key in allowing him to sign for Dortmund at 16, instead of being made to wait until he was 18, which would have been necessary with a US passport.
Meanwhile, his grandfather, Miguel, played professionally in Argentina.
As well as turning out for the US national team, he’s also an attacking midfielder or winger for Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund.
Born in Southend-On-Sea, Carter-Vickers came through Tottenham’s academy and in the summer of 2014 was part of a team that beat the US under-17s side 5-3.
He made his first-team debut in 2016 but he featured for the senior side just five times and had spells on loan with Sheffield United, Ipswich, Swansea, Stoke, Luton and Bournemouth prior to joining Celtic.
Carter-Vickers represented the US for the first time at under-18 level in 2014 and started several games in the 2015 under-20s World Cup despite only being 17 at the time.
Cameron Carter-Vickers is another US player with links to England, having been born in Southend-On-Sea in Essex
In 2016, it was reported that the English FA had made inquiries about the upcoming star, but he was fast tracked into the first team and made his senior debut in 2018.
Carter-Vickers’ father is Howard Carter, an American basketball player, who met his English mother, Geraldine, while they were both working in Greece.
He was on the bench for the Wales game.
Over the Red Wall! How NINE players in the Wales World Cup squad were actually born across the border in ENGLAND – earning them the nickname ‘England B’
By Kamal Sultan for the Daily Mail
Nine players in the Wales squad were actually born across the border in England, leading them to be dubbed ‘England B’ by a cheeky few.
Wales has the fourth highest number of foreign-born players out of the 32 nations competing for football’s top prize and 17 players in their 26-man squad play in England.
Defender Chris Mepham, 25, and winger Sorba Thomas, 23, were both born in the capital London, while centre-back Ethan Ampadu, 22, and striker Kieffer Moore, 30, who both starred in Wales’ 1-1 draw on Monday, were born in the south west of England, in Exeter and Torquay respectively.
League One players Joe Morrell, 25, and Matthew Smith, 23, were born in Ipswich and Redditch and League Two midfielder Jonny Williams, 29, was born in Kent.
And Premier League stars Daniel James, 25, and Brennan Johnson, 21, were born in Hull and Nottingham.
The nine players qualify to represent Wales through their Welsh lineage and they have represented the nation a combined 246 times.
Defender Chris Mepham, 25, and winger Sorba Thomas, 23, were both born in the capital London
Ampadu played once for England under 16s, Johnson made seven appearances across England’s under 16 and 17s teams and Moore won one cap for England C – the country’s non-league team, before they switched international allegiances.
Moore, who made his Wales debut in 2019 having qualified through his Gwynedd-born grandfather insists he has no mixed loyalties.
And he is looking forward to the final group game against England on November 29.
‘I can’t wait to knock them out, it would be amazing,’ he said.
‘There will be no mixed loyalties. I can’t remember much (about being capped by England C). It was Estonia maybe and I think I came on towards the end of the game.’
Brennan Johnson, 21, was born in Nottingham.
Centre-back Ethan Ampadu, 22, and striker Kieffer Moore, 30, who both starred in Wales’ 1-1 draw on Monday, were born in the south west of England, in Exeter and Torquay respectively
League One players Joe Morrell, 25, and Matthew Smith, 23, were born in Ipswich