‘English Players Should Play For England’ – Jack Wilshere Not Keen On Adnan Janujaz Getting The England Nod

Chris Wright

9th, October 2013


By Chris Wright

Soccer - FIFA World Cup Qualifying - Group H - England v Montengro - England Training and Press Conference - St George's Park

Jack wastes a bit of time until his next fag break

Adnan Januzaj. The guy scores a couple of goals against the team at the bottom of the league and suddenly the whole friggin’ world flies into a dizzy froth over him. His is pretty much the only name we’ve heard since the weekend. Can you tell it’s an international break?

Anyway, one of the main narrative threads since Januzaj’s brace at the Stadium of Light has been the 18-year-old midfielder’s “refusal” to commit to playing for the country of his birth, Belgium, this week (in actuality, he wasn’t selected) and that, as such, he could conceivably one day qualify to play for England via the five-year residency rule.

Not that Jack Wilshere would have the Manchester United youngster (who could also play for Albania, Turkey or Serbia through his parents if he wished) anywhere near the England squad, for, you see, in Jack’s eyes, Januzaj just ain’t Angleterre enough.

When asked about Januzaj’s potential England credentials, Wilshere told a press conference:

“No. For me, if you are English, you are English, and you play for England. The only people who should play for England are English people.

“If you’ve lived in England for five years, for me, it doesn’t make you English. You shouldn’t play. It doesn’t mean you can play for that country.

If I went to Spain and lived there for five years, I’m not going to play for Spain. For me an English player should play for England really.”

Ah, that old chestnut. For what it’s worth, Pies have no strong feelings either way though we do believe that a player should at least aim to represent the country he calls home – whether he was born there or not – though we appreciate that it isn’t easily quantifiable in some cases. It’s just that gaining international status via a residency technicality seems to make a bit of a mockery of the original concept.

However, on the other hand, we can see the appeal of wanting to play international football by any means possible and, if the rules allow it, the family tree is scoured and the papers are signed off, who are we to deny any professional the right to play at national level for whichever country he bloody well can.

Where do you stand on the issue Pies fans?

Posted in International football, Newsnow

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  1. barf says:

    I agree with him to an extent as I don’t think players who can just ‘technically’ play for a country should be instantly coerced into playing for them. Playing for a country that isn’t (or at least considered) ‘home’ is going against everything international games stand for.

    Cross boarder movement is a more modern thing, but it doesn’t replace feeling pride for your country of origin. I’ve lived in England most of my life, but don’t consider myself English, despite loving my life there. Would I play for them just because I knew i’d play in more prestigious tournaments? Not a chance.

    The most worrying thing in the whole interview for me was this, which simply highlighted the worrying precedent that English football is following and proving quite obvious that they are unable to adapt with the modern game:

    “We have great characters. You think of Spain and you think technical but you think of England and you think they are brave and they tackle hard.”


    if u want it tht way u shd go change the passport rules!!!! if i hav an english passport tht gets me citizenship!!!!! what r my priviledges??…playing for my country z one of the greatest honours one ever gets regardless ov hw long av bin to england!!! u shouldnt giv me a passport if u don wanna me play!!! why dont u say so wen collekting my child registered as english if a newly born baby has a passport making it equal to wilshere watsoever he thinks wat meks a player having spent 5 years in england inelligeble???..just bkoz u feel u kant play for spain under the same conditions daznt mean its true it only means wilshere z ver short sighted!!! very bakward.. veri selfish!!!self centred narrow brain!!!..this global world has integration at thecentre ov it ol yet sam moron of a wilshere kant c it! hw did the coloureds ferdinand,cole welbek on the english team comew to play there?..r they originally english?there great grand parents came frm samplaces!!…i can c waaat uve bin smoking!!!!! no wonder!!!!

  3. Saladinho says:

    “The only people who should play for England are English people.” It’s 2013 for gods sake! I really think England could benefit from a few foreign players with citizenship, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and France all good examples.

  4. Glenn says:

    I’m not sure if any of this was covered in the above post as I didn’t get through the first sentence (how ironic that a discussions on someone’s definition of national pride should provoke such an abhoration of the English language), but I think the entire eligibility system needs a dramatic overhaul.
    In nine years time we see The World Cup hosted in oil rich, football poor Qatar. Having never so much as qualified for the competition, I’m sure the Qatari FA will be keen to avoid more embarrassment by seeing their side crash out in the group stages. Currently there’s no legislation in place to prevent them spending the next seven years scouring out young up and coming talent from all over the world, throwing cash at them to play for Qatari clubs, refute international call ups from their own country and receive a Qatari passport after two years.
    I may still be bitter (in fact, i definitely am) but in 2002, 2004 and 2008 England were halted in their progression in international tournaments by Portugal and Croatia

    • Glenn says:

      …Sides featuring naturalised Brazilians who’d gained a passport after two short years. These are two strong footballing nations who may well have put us on our arses without their international aid. The fact that each nation has different citizenship rules creates an uneven playing field and is something which is out of FIFA’s jurisdiction. They can however control a cut off point whereby someone is eligible to play for another nation. While players like Barnes, Sterling & Zaha have qualified to play for England under residency rules, all three moved here as children for non sporting reasons and learned their game in this nation. If it meant that we went without players like that, then so be it. The whole point of international football is that each nation gets to utilise the best they have to offer and display their unique style of football. Throw in ringers and it takes the identity away from these nations. Would a World Cup won with half a dozen players thrown into the squad after spending a couple of years in the country be reason to celebrate or a hollow victory? As much as I’m desperate to see England win a competition, I’m keen to see it done with English players in an English manner.
      Where the line should be drawn is a grey area, but it’s currently far too easy for some nations to beef up their squad in a way that makes international football more like club football and it’s down to FIFA to do something about it before it gets silly.

  5. Doug says:

    @ SABIITI STEVEN What in the name of fuck was that? I feel like I’ve been smacked in the face with a scribble board.

  6. Damien says:

    Owen Hargreaves
    John Barnes
    Matt Le Tissier
    Raheem Sterling
    Luther Blissett
    John Salako
    Rob Jones
    Terry Butcher

    All these players were born outside of England. If we go by what wilshire says then England would have been robbed of some of these players. To be quite honest this is nothing to do with who plays for england or not. All Wilshere is worried about is losing his place to far better players than him who can qualify for the England setup. Does it really matter if a guy was born in London or Manchester or Oslo or New York if he can qualify for the English setup and can vastly improve the team. As an Irish man I have been blest with watching some of the finest British players play for my country through qualifying through grandparents or parents and as long as every time they step out on the pitch in the green and play their hearts out I dont care what town or country they come from.

    Wilshere should just shut up and let the squad selection to those who do it.

  7. Glenn says:

    Oh, one last thing (I promise) for all the moaning in the press and from the likes of Ferdinand that too many foreign players in the top flight is stagnating young English players’ chances, is calling foreign players up for the national team really the answer?

  8. Geraldo says:

    Jingoism and xenophobia are alive and well and living in England. “Union” Jack obviously reads the Daily Mail…

  9. i did it all for the fnarf says:


  10. soerenpaul says:

    So honestly guys, one question:

    Why in all friggin hell should the kid play for England?
    He’s part of the maybe most talented national squad in the whole world, which will pretty much be one of the top contenders for european champions in 2016.

    I mean, honestly:
    Hazard – 22
    Courtois – 21
    Lukaku – 20
    Benteke – 22
    de Bruyne – 22
    Lestienne – 21
    Praet – 19
    Thorgan – 20
    Ferreira-Carrasco – 20
    Malanda – 19
    Tielemans – 16
    Bakkali – 17

    Adding to Verts, Dembele, Fellaini, Witsel, Nainggolan, Mirallas and Chadli.

    So again: WHY should he even consider playing for England?!

    • sloth says:

      Agreed, but first off, he has one Prem start under his belt, and two goals (against SUNDERLAND), so I think there’s a heavy element of horse-before-cart going on here. He has to earn a call-up before he can decide who to represent.

      SECOND, he would have to wait THREE YEARS before he could be called up to England. Has everyone forgot that there is a World Cup this coming summer? If he is selected, is he really going to turn down a chance to go to Brazil with Belgium (or Serbia or Turkey assuming one of them qualifies) so he can maybe get called up to England in 2016? Seems unlikely to me.

  11. Del says:

    If Adnan Januzaj wishes to play for England and he is called up then I see no reason for him not to represent us. So long as he identifies as English and calls England his home isn’t that enough?

    I think Jack Wilshere has been very small minded in what he said. I’m quite bewildered by it to be honest.

  12. JoeT says:


  13. Glenn says:

    I’m dismayed by the amount of people making this out to be either racism or xenophobia. It’s nothing of the sort. International football is about eleven men taking to the field to represent THEIR nation. All eleven of those men will have grown up dreaming of that moment. If the use of nationalised players gets any worse we won’t be far off seeing international football awash with mercenaries, willing at a young age to sell their dreams of representing their own nations down the river for a hefty pay packet to turn out for an average nation.
    Let’s ignore England’s view point on this for one second. Everything I’ve heard or read about this issue has been about our right to have this player. What about the Belgians? What about the Serbians? The Albanians and the Turkish? What will they have to say about this? How will they feel to have a country that lays no claim to his allegiance on the international stage until he’ll be 21 getting to field him while he could be a future star in their own squad right now? How would we feel if the likes of Wayne Rooney or Steven Gerrard had gone abroad at 16 and had the press of that nation pressure him into turning his back on us? He’d be vilified, called a traitor and get booed every time he kicked a ball on these shores (completely trivial that, we know it’s not very likely for a young Englishman to play abroad and broaden his horizons). Maybe that’s the reason we’re so keen to fast track players into the full squad rather than let them find their footing in the Under 21’s like the Spanish and Germans do.

  14. with the left and the right says:

    from an American perspective reading this is all very interesting. In America it doesn’t matter whether you were born here or immigrated here, if your passport says you’re American then you’re American (nevermind the racists who think Obama wasn’t born in America). Europe is a continent of nation states and belonging to a nation is clearly defined (skin color, name, ancestry, e.t.c) but globalization is happening, its real and its clear that you have to adopt an American model to cope with the changes. if someone decides to adopt England as their home nation regardless of where they were born then they’re English.

  15. Tom says:

    I think some people (Geraldo) are missing the point. They’ve seen the word “English” mentioned in a sentence talking about a foreigner and assumed he’s being racist or prejudiced and start harping on about the Daily Mail (which is actually racist). It’s not to say someone who moves here at an early age or someone who’s parents moved here and they were born here shouldn’t think of themselves as English, of course not, it’s a matter of someone who has no connection to England other that he’s lived here for a couple of years because he was paid a lot of money to do so shouldn’t play for England as he is not an Englishman, nor I think would he describe himself as one.

    I suppose a good way to look at it is without football, would a player ever call themselves English, Croatian, whatever. Eduardo for instance, without football would he ever have considered himself Croatian? That I think is the point, someone like Januzaj could have been bought by Madrid or Milan and there could be the debate about him playing for Spain or Italy. George Weah – he played for Libya – he was never going to win anything but he played for the nation he considered to be his. Basically Wilshire’s saying international team shouldn’t be a pick and choose, you should play for whatever you perceive is YOUR country. If we can grab players from other nations then it might as well be club football, and as Glenn said, it takes the magic and frankly the whole point out of international football.

    Also ‘Del’ – he apparently is thinking about playing for Albania and he’s never said he’s English or anything like that. As he says in the quote, if he went to Spain and lived there for a bit, no one would say he’s Spanish.

  16. There's Only One John Tierney says:

    Am I don’t think he is disputing that people have to be born in England to represent England. I was born in England to Irish parents and raised in Ireland, I have an Irish accent and would only ever play for an Irish international team (don’t get me wrong, I have 2 left feet and they face the wrong way, just making a point!). Just because I was born there doesn’t make me English. I think if you grew up there (went to school there, have the accent, live that way of life etc.etc.), then that makes you that nationality.

    Januzaj is what, 18 years old, in England about 2 years. I’m assuming his accent isn’t English and English isn’t his first language, he is 100% not English. Jack is dead right. We don’t want International teams becoming bastardized club teams! At least when Ireland had English born and raised players, they were of Irish descent and actually wanted to play for Ireland.

  17. Rob says:

    One game wonder!

  18. Miguel - NyC says:

    Wilshere is an overrated player who doesn’t one someone to take his place. There are many reasons one leaves the country he/she considers theirs to adapt a new one. Most of the time, the decision is not even yours (kids, teenagers) since your parents are making it for you.
    Take Messi for example, who left Argentina at 13, never thought of playing for any other country but Argentina even though he could have played for spain. Now, Deco left Brasil when he was much older, but because he wasn’t the wunderkind that Messi was, he had a much different experience (his family wasn’t around like Messi’s was) and he felt he owed Portugal more than he owed Brasil. Everyone has their story (Rossi always dreamed of playing for Italy, even though he left the USA at the same age Messi left Arg), and yes, sometimes you’ll encounter those who’ll play for a country 2 days after being there, but still, the rules are the rules.
    The issue with England is that if their team was stacked and their youth systems were great, it would be a lot harder for a foreigner to break into their club teams and national teams. The youth system sucks and Gerrard and Lampard will be out after this world cup. I highly doubt Wilshere will be the one helping england win any silverware any time soon. He may lead them, but not to silverware.

  19. MGJ says:

    It’s been raised that only being born in your country should allow you to play for them. How about if your parents are working abroad for a while or merely on holiday and you happen to be born during that period? Does that mean you are then bound by this line of thought that you have to play for Turkey or Namibia?

    If it isn’t a question of where you are born, it raises the important question of what it is to be English? Or is it that Being English and representing England at a footballing level are two different things?

    As always, it’s an endless debate really as much of the above comments and indeed Wilshere’s comments themselves are up for interpretation.

    If I had to make a decision on my view, I would take that of the American system mentioned above.

  20. TravisKOP says:

    well said Glenn

  21. PuroEuro says:

    @with the left and the right

    you’re a typical American ignoramus. We ‘have’ to adopt to the American model?
    Well let me tell you something son…Europe is not America nor will it ever become the United States of Europe.
    Because of a little thing called ‘history’ – and thousands of years of it.
    You think Belgium and Holland are as comparable as say Oklahoma and Alabama? Nope.
    Germany and France the same as Illionis and Maine?
    Italy and Spain the same as Pennsylvania and Texas?

    Get over yourself.

    In such a small piece of land, you have over 30 different countries and guess what, within those countries you have hundreds of different divisions.
    Bavarians are different than East Germans, Lombardians are different than Sicilians in Italy, Catalunians don’t even consider themselves Spanish, mainland Portuguese regard Madeira Portuguese as below than them, and so on so forth.
    I’ll stress again – thousands of years of history!

    English have such a rich history, i’m surprised some (most) of you are happy to say some foreigner is as eligible to represent your country as someone who is truly English.
    Either you’re well and truly brainwashed or you’ve lost all sense of identity.
    Keep up like this and soon enough England will be nothing it once was.

    Yeah the world is changing and globalization is happening but is it a good thing?
    Its destroying the European continent and English, French, German, Dutch, Belgian and most other European cultures will diminish and be overtaken by various immigrant cultures who are clearly much better at fucking considering the unstoppable growth of their population vs. the decline of TRUE European population.

    And when it comes to football – well, we have Champions League every year, with clubs full of foreigners, so what’s the point of ever having a World Cup where countries compete if those countries are packed with foreigners?
    ‘Naturalized’ doesn’t even begin to make somebody English (or any other European for that matter).

  22. Jack Scurvy says:


    >8) j/k… but seriously. I’m surprised this has kicked off a shitload of “Wilshere to join Fabregas” rumours. Oh an, yeah… nothing wrong with what he said. Completely innocent opinion, not an ounce of malice in it.

  23. Neil Phillips says:

    This reply is for the, ahem, “American”! You have no history! The real Americans are the Red Indians, whose land and country you stole from them! England and the rest of Europe is steeped in history! You yanks crack me up lol :-)

  24. Hasselhof says:

    If he’s a miserable cunt, then he’s most likely English anyway. That should be the only prerequisite. Let him play.

  25. KingB3113 says:

    Me thinks the boy Jack is feeling a little threatened by young Adnan

  26. sloth says:

    As a Canadian, having seen Hargreaves and de Guzman lost to England and Netherlands, I’m not a fan of naturalized callups. However, I think it’s up to the player and how they identify their own nationality.

    • Mikey C says:

      I think it’s more about where they see their level. If Hargreaves and de Guzman had been poorer players, unlikely to be picked by England or the Netherlands, then both would probably been happy to play for Canada!

  27. Mikey C says:

    International sport is a mess these days.

    In my book, where you were raised is the main thing, where you learnt your trade. Terry Butcher may have been born abroad, but was raised in England. He is English. Janujaz wasn’t born or raised in England, and didn’t come over here because his family moved here, but rather to play for Man U, thus isn’t English. Similarly, someone born in England who moved to another country aged 1 isn’t truly English in my logic.

    Of course, many cases are less clearcut, if someone moved to England aged 7, then their development in England makes them pretty English, but at 11? at 13? Following this logic in other sports, Matt Prior came to the UK aged 11 with his family, thus is ‘more’ English than KP who came over as an adult…

    The thing I find really daft is allowing people to play for a country due a solitary grandparent, that’s surely one generation too far!

  28. CMDG says:

    Janujaz can’t play for England whether he’s naturalised or not. This is because of a gentlemens agreement between the home nations that states, a player must of had at least 5 years education in the country or residence to play for the country.

    I don’t see what’s wrong with a player who wasn’t born there playing with the country he resides. If messi or Ronaldo where naturalised “Englishmen” you would be falling over yourselves to get them in your team.

    Scotland have had so many English players over the years and we don’t care because we know we are pish!

    Oh and the great George Weah played for Liberia not Libya.

  29. Funky Koval says:

    Well, now that Tommy Robinson has resigned, Wilshere can take up the top spot of the EDL if he thinks like that.

  30. Daniel Swildens says:

    For 15 years every Englishman went to bed saying “How I wish Ryan Giggs was born in England”. Now a new Giggs might be able to play for England and you don’t want him too. That’s just bizarre. In the end though, a “foreigner” is probably just what the England team needs if they ever wish to go far in an international tournament.

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