England midfielder Jack Wilshere has stirred a debate about foreign-born players in football, declaring that only “English people” should be eligible to represent the national team.
Wilshere’s stance was immediately branded as “too extreme” by the head of the FA. The issue of foreign-born players being selected by England resurfaced after the FA said it was looking into whether Manchester United’s Belgium-born midfielder Adnan Januzaj (18) can play for England.
Januzaj could become eligible for England in 2018 on residency grounds if he hasn’t played for a senior national team in a competitive fixture by then.
He has so far declined to play for Belgium. Because of his parents’ heritage, he is also eligible to represent Serbia, Albania and Turkey, as well as Kosovo, which is not yet recognized by FIFA.
“The only people who should play for England are English people,” the Arsenal player said. “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 am not going to play for Spain. We have to remember what we are. We are English.”
FA chairman Greg Dyke distanced himself from Wilshere’s assertion