In light of Jack Wilshere's recent comments of how “England should be for the English” as a response to speculation that Roy Hodgson is looking at calling up Manchester United prodigy Adnan Januzaj, which other “foreigners” could be turning out for The Three Lions in the near future?
The FA's dallying caused them to miss out on German internationals Lewis Holtby and Aaron Hunt, and are now rightly exploring the possible avenues that could result in them getting better, even if that means selecting what Wilshere classes as “foreigners”.
The idea of using players with heritage from other countries isn't exactly new, and France's 1998 World Cup winning squad included a handful of players who were eligible for their parent's nations, or countries they were born in. Marcel Desailly and Patrick Vieira were born in Ghana and Senegal respectively, whilst Zinedine Zidane (Algeria), Robert Pires (Portugal) and Youri Djorkaeff (Armenia) all could've seen their international future away form Les Blues.
Throughout Hodgson's reign, England have given caps to players who can play for other countries – Raheem Sterling (Jamaica), Wilfried Zaha (Ivory Coast) and Carl Jenkinson (Finland) – in order to try and convince them that their international future lies with England.
Here are three more players who could be pulling on an England shirt, despite having the option to play for other countries...
Eric Dier, Sporting Lisbon
Dier was born in Cheltenham but moved to Portugal aged 10, where his talent was spotted and he duly joined the Sporting Lisbon academy. The now 19 year old centre back signed a professional contract with the Portuguese giants in 2010, but a loan move to Everton followed in 2011. Now a regular member of the Sporting first team, Dier has played his way through the England youth setup, at U18, U19, U20 and U21 levels, and is now waiting for the call from the senior team. He may need a move back to England to achieve this, but Portugal will no doubt be waiting to claim Dier.
Tiago Ilori, Liverpool
The new signing at Anfield was born in London to an English father – of Nigerian descent – and a Portuguese mother, meaning he can play for all three nations. Any change of nationality now would be a blow to Portugal, who have seen Ilori represent their U18, U19 and U20 sides. 20 year old Ilori gained fame when it was reported that he ran Sporting Lisbon speed tests faster than Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani, and now the FA have contacted the 6ft 3in centre back in order to have him committed to England.
Saido Berahino, West Bromwich Albion
Striker Berahino shot to prominence with his winning goal at Old Trafford, as West Brom beat Manchester United 2-1. Born in Burundi, Berahino fled the war-torn country aged just 10, and was granted asylum in Birmingham. Berahino, who has five goals in six games in all competitions this season, has declared that he wants to go to the 2014 World Cup – with England.
“Burundi is motherland to me. I will always be a Burundian regardless of what happens, even if I become a successful Premier League player. Playing for England is totally different. They have given me a second chance in life, provided my family with a different type of lifestyle. I feel very, very grateful for what England have done for me and my family. So, when I play for England, I play with passion and excitement, joy and desire to win.”, Berahino stated recently.
Should England give call-ups to these players? Should it matter if they were born elsewhere or have played for a different country at youth level? Comment below...