If Adnan Januzaj wants to be dragged through the mud, then sure, play for England

Adnan Januzaj is Manchester United's greatest bright star, and the subject of an international to-and-fro. But why would he want to play for England?

You only sing when you’re winning - it is an interesting phrase that can be applied to many aspects of football - including the current rumble over international football - in particular relation to Adnan Januzaj, Jack Wilshere and all that malarkey.

After Januzaj bagged a special brace against Sunderland last weekend, the news he would be eligible for England in 2015 soon hit the ground running.

Some were sceptical at how an Albanian-Belgian could ever play for England - but on residency grounds he probably could.

So here comes the debate. Jack Wilshere made some comments, which were taken slightly out of context, in which he said something about ‘only English people should play for England’.

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There have been other critics this week, none more amusing than Scottish Under-21 manager Billy Stark having a go. Jordan Rhodes, Phil Bardsley, George Boyd … need I go on?

But the Wilshere ‘criticism’ has got the most attention, with England cricketer Kevin Pietersen even biting on Twitter.

But in reality, if Pietersen feels English, then why can he not play for England?

And the simple fact is, as soon as KP hit that 158 at The Oval to win us The Ashes - well he might as well have been born in Peterborough and not Pietermaritzburg.

Chris Froome is our latest cycling hero - born in Kenya. Mo Farah is a national treasure and double Olympic Gold medallist - a Somalian. Oh and Andrew Strauss, Ashes winning captain - born in Johannesburg and went to school in Australia.

But are they English/British? - Unquestionably.

I am not going to have a go at Jack Wilshere; I think he is having his words spun slightly out of whack on this occasion.

But in general, the English people, especially football fans, are a fickle bunch - me included. When Andy Murray wins he is British, when he loses he is a Scot.

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The same would apply to Januzaj. If he ever played for England we would herald his English attitudes when he plays well. We would probably get him standing in front of the flag of St George with some fish and chips and a bulldog on a leash.

If he started to play badly he would be underneath the red-tops, doctored up to look like a Brussel sprout.

The fact is, if someone feels English, and is good, we want them.

The moment they go pony - it is not our problem anymore - the fans, the press, the nation will soon spit you out because you don't sing the national anthem (not that any of them do anyway), you don't play with passion ... you don't care.

Yet one of the most impassioned England performances I have ever seen came from Owen Hargreaves - who got plenty of stick because of his Canadian birthplace and German home...

Recently we have had Raheem Sterling and Wilfried Zaha play for England, both of whom were born to parents of a different nationality in Jamaica and the Ivory Coast respectively - they may have been here longer than Januzaj, but if Januzaj feels English than sure let him play for England (although it appears to be clear that he wants to play for Albania, according to his old man anyway).

At the end of the day Adnan I would suggest to steer well clear of playing for England, even if you do feel as English as tea and scones - because as you can see already, playing football for England is simply not worth the effort sometimes.

image: © philosophy football

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