England for the English?

Todays post was going to be about the Cheerleading social I attended last night; where we ran around, dressed as bunny’s and having fun with lots of innuendos. But without risking sounding like a stereotypical university student, and a bit of a d*ck; In turn, decided to touch on a dubious subject, that struck a nerve.

I feel I’m being a bit contentious with my title (which is a genuine question in reference to this post, not a harsh statement), but I certainly haven’t been as controversial as a certain Mr.Wilshere recently. So as I sit in a Monkey onesie, I got thinking about my own opinions on:

“The only people who should play for England are English people.”

This was said Jack Wilshere. The 21-year-old Arsenal midfielder became the talking point of the world news with this “smoking” controversy– all pun intended.

My dad pretty much taught me all he knew about football, and now, I do love the sport. But he was also a football player himself back in the 70’s, before a knee condition with his bones made him unable to do the pass final medical for Leeds and Man U! But football’s in my family, my late distant cousin was Tony Grealish, who, had 45 international appearances for ROI (Republic of Ireland) between ’76 and ’86. So, with this in mind it wasn’t a shock that I feel I’m entitled to an opinion on this discussion.

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My late distant cousin, Tony Grealish

Law states you have to be living in Britain for five years, after your 18th Birthday, to apply for British citizenship, Wilshere tackled this with: “If you live in England for five years it doesn’t make you English…. If I went to Spain and lived there for five years, I’m not going to play for Spain.”

This all came into question after it was announced that in 2018, Manchester United’s, 18 year old, Adnan Januzaj could play for England, as he hasn’t committed to any country he’s eligible to play for. Although Wilshere denies his comments were about Januzaj it does give a good example for the argument: “I wasn’t referring to Januzaj. The question was should foreign players be allowed to play for England, and in my opinion I don’t think they should. He is a great player. I wish he was English.”

Jack Wilshere
We saw you smoking Jack, now you’ve set fire to the news!

But should people who are not born in England be able to play for the English Football team? Well, this is where is get’s complicated.  I agree that people who aren’t born in England, but are English through heritage are acceptable to play for England, but I fear that simply residency may be a step to far. Yes, they may have a pride and passion for England, as much, or more than any English Player, but I do agree that if you are to play for England, then the play should at least be – in want for a better word – “a bit” English.

Once/if this starts happening it might as well be England FC, rather than international, because it’ll become just the same as any football club in England that get’s a foreign player. I mean, I remember the days when a fuss was kicked up because Sven-Göran Eriksson wasn’t an English manager of the national team! I’ve conceived this has come from the desperation to win the World Cup. No, we haven’t won since ’66, but does that mean we should lose faith in our ‘home-grown’ players, and start recruiting the rest of the world?

Football needs a line drawn. 5 years in a country can make you feel like that’s your home, but without true English heritage, I must agree with Wilshere. The England team must be for the English players, just as much as the Brazilian team is for Brazilian players.  There’s no racism there, no want for controversy, just a wish to keep an age old tradition. Surely out of 204 international teams, everyone doesn’t need to come to England. But, I’ll try and keep this short, as this is touchy subject, pages can be written on, and this is already quite long. Call me old fashion, and controversial if you wish, but, and this is coming from a Half Irish girl:

Should the England Team be for the English (Or English heritage) players?

Yes.

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