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Is the England national team behind the times?

Friday 10th July 2015
Despite England once again making it into the top ten in the FIFA rankings, football blog The Tough Tackler asks is it time for a change in the way we recruit players to the national team?

With 11 goals for promoted Bournemouth, Matt Ritchie deservedly earned his first cap for Scotland against Northern Ireland in March. The midfielder had admitted, that having qualified through his relatives, he'd never “actually been to Scotland”.

Ritchie is one of many Internationals in today's game pulling on the colours of an adoptive nation. Italy have also called up Brazilian born Eder, and Franco Vazquez who is Argentinian by birth.

After Adnan Januzaj first burst onto the scene for Manchester United last season, Football Association chairman Greg Dyke originally suggested he wanted to wait and see if he can qualify for England. Dyke opened the door by saying: “If it takes five years for him to qualify, it's probably not going to happen. But you have to look at what's happened in cricket, what's happened in other sports and in other countries and see if we can do the same thing in football”.

However this week, he has backtracked saying “I don't think we want to go down the route of converting non-Englishmen to being England internationals”.

Why the change?

When he got the job as FA chairman Dyke sold the vision that England should be aiming to reach the semi-finals of Euro 2020 and win the World Cup in 2022. A tall order for England to beat the World's best bearing in mind England finished bottom of their group last time around.

World Cup winners Germany included many players of different backgrounds in their 23-man squad. Players such as Mesut Özil is of Turkish descent, Sami Khedira (Tunisia), Jérôme Boateng (Ghana), Shkodran Mustafi (Albania), and Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose (both Poland) had the option to play for different nations but chose Germany. Nearly half of Germany's 23 man squad for the 2010 World Cup were also of foreign heritage.

Are England missing a trick?

While we fret over whether a foreign player has the right to wear the Three Lions shirt, every other nation is getting their hands on the players they need. Spain replaced David Villa with Diego Costa who has played for Brazil twice. Mauro Camoranesi who won the World Cup with Italy but admitted “I feel Argentine but I have defended the colours of Italy”.

If players like Ritchie can turn their back on England and play for another nation, why can't we do the same and adopt other players?

It may not be a great solution but if you can't beat them…
Tough Tackler
The tough tackler is a football blog who surprisingly talk about football.

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