Premier League & Nigeria star's AFCON call-up to be blocked?

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A Premier League star remains in the dark about whether or not he will be released by his club to compete at the Africa Cup of Nations after comments made by his manager. 

The upcoming AFCON has been met with some controversy, with a number of calls having been made to have the continental showpiece postponed or cancelled for various reasons. 

Some of Europe's elite clubs have also shown a reluctance to release their African stars for the competition, thus casting doubt over some of the players' participation at the tournament. 

One such footballer in this situation is Watford striker Emmanuel Dennis, whose involvement at the tournament for Nigeria now seems doubtful following his club manager Claudio Ranieri's recent comments. 

Scroll through the gallery above to see some of Nigerian stars who ply their trade in the Premier League

The Italian boss has made the suggestion that the Hornets have grounds not to release the Super Eagles forward for AFCON, with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) having seemingly missed the deadline to notify the club of their intention to call up the player. 

"I'm not so sure I'll miss Dennis now and if he goes to the national team, we have to wait," Ranieri said, per the Daily Mail. 

"The email didn't arrive at the right moment. The national team has a time to send a pre-call. They didn't respect the days, and I want to see. 

"The email arrived late. They have a time when they need to send a pre-call; if they don't send it, we can choose [whether or not to release the player for AFCON]." 

Read: EPL star blasted for rejecting Ghana call-ups

It is understood that there are talks between the English club and the NFF to resolve the situation.

Dennis has been a key figure for Watford in his debut campaign with the club, and is their leading goalscorer so far this season with eight strikes in the Premier League. 

UPDATE 31/12/2021

It has been confirmed that Dennis will not be a part of the Nigeria squad that will take part at AFCON, per The Athletic.

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