Do you need to be English to play for England?

by admin

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

After what can only be described as a woeful World Cup performance by England’s national team, there is no doubt that Fabio Capello has a tough job ahead of him with the upcoming European Championship qualifiers. However, Capello is also aware that his stay as England coach will be short lived as the Football Association has announced that within 2 years they hope to have installed an English manager as Capello’s successor.

This means that Capello has a perfect opportunity to take risks and thanks to recent changes in regulations if a non English player has played in England for 5 or more years and they have not represented their country at international level they can qualify as an England International and can represent our country. Most notably players include Manuel Almunia and Mikel Arteta has been mentioned as being available for selection.

Whilst there is no doubt that Arteta is a quality player and would be a great asset to any country’s national team the main reason that he has not been selected for his native Spanish team is because of the pure quality of the players in front of him including, the likes of Iniesta and Alonso. Yes, it could be argued that England need all the help they can get to get some respect and quality back in to the team but there is still a feeling of these players settling for second best.

I am of a traditional view that a player who represents their country should see it as a honour and should play the best they can with all the relevant emotion will this apply to someone who is not traditionally ‘English.’

However, saying that some of the current English players could not even say that this criteria applies to them.

This is not a new phenomenon in other sports, for example, Cricket, with the number of non-‘English’ players representing England, with Kevin Pieterson being the most high profile. But this also occurs in football in other countries. For example with the number of sheer quality of Brazilians the likes of Eduardo have had to resort to representing other countries, in this case, Croatia.

What concerns me is that is playing in a ‘foreign’ country for five years does it make you a native? Surely there are also other talented and even younger Englishmen who would be a bit annoyed if they were not picked ahead of a non-Englishman. I think that the English team should be looking to the youngsters as the future of the English game.

At club level, football has clearly been bought and money has been thrown at it however, the international scene has not been as consumed by money but would introducing players who aren’t traditionally English mean more money coming into the game or will this merely give talented players a chance to represent a country at international level?

I don’t care who represents England as long as they are passionate for the country and play to the best of their ability.

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  • Stevie

    Lets not forget Lenox Lewis of course!

    Personally, I’d rather they were English, only a true native knows what it means to represent their country. Flip side of that argument of course is, do the current crop of English drips know what it means?

    Arteta is good, but no better than Paul Scholes! Jack Wilshire & Tom Huddlestone should be way ahead of the Everton man imp

  • William

    Given that players increasingly retire from international football voluntarily, the willingness of someone like Arteta to turn out for England marks him out as having the desire that others seem to lack. Yes, he qualifies by virtue of residence legislation rather than by birth or through family heritage, but if Arteta is eligible for selection then it is something worth considering. He has spoken of his respect for English football in the past and how much he has enjoyed playing for Everton. I think his intentions are sincere and he would look at playing international football for us as a privilege, not just a way of earning caps.

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