Wednesday, 9 October 2013

England For The English

Back in the 1980's and 1990's the Republic Of Ireland football team went through a phase of picking non-Irish players for their national team.
When asked where in Ireland he was born, Andy Townsend replied 'Peckham' and how the English mocked them for picking a bunch of players that couldn't get into the England team and that's why i think what Jack Wilshere said about being English to play for England is right.
The Arsenal midfielder said: 'Only English people should play football for England, 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' which was a response to the idea that Manchester United's Belgian midfielder, Adnan Januzaj, could play for England if he passes Fifa's five-year residency requirement.
Lennox Lewis and Greg Rusedki may have wrapped themselves in a Union Flag but they were Canadian which is why they were not as loved by the British public as Frank Bruno or Tim Henman even if they were both much better athletes.
The England cricket team is made up of South Africans and Australians and the British Athletics teams are gaining Americans and Africans as athletes seem to swap nationalities like they change shorts and i don't want to see that in football.
If you are German, you play for Germany, if you are Swedish you play for Sweden and if you are English then you play for England, it should be that simple.
The only reason it is being mooted at all is because of the dearth of English talent coming through the ranks, the under 21's, 20's and 19's stank the place out in the summer tournaments but poaching other countries players and slapping a Union Flag in their hand is not the answer, improving the training of the younger players is because this is treating the symptom but not the cause.
The young players will still suck and not be able to get in the England team because of non-English Englishmen blocking the way which is exactly the same argument people make who moan about the Premier League being full of foreigners.


Cheezy said...

Lennox Lewis was born in West Ham, so he passes 'the Wilshere test'...

Anyway, I reckon most of the reporting on this issue is missing the main point. This isn't an 'English' issue at all. In football, it's an issue for FIFA. In cricket, it's an issue for the ICC. In rugby, it's an issue for the IRB. Personally I think the rules for qualifying to play for an 'adopted' country should be fairly restrictive across all sports (in order to cut down on 'careerists' who move countries simply to qualify), but if the rules are written in a certain way then it's inevitable that every country is going to try to use them to their advantage - the result being that countries like England and France, which are attractive places for people from many countries to settle anyway, are going to end up with a lot of non-native-born players in the team. People can complain about the prospect of people like Januzaj playing for England (and that's not an invalid stance, per se) but the solution lies in changing the governing body's regulations, not in trying to make your own national organisation consciously not use the rules to their own advantage.

Cheezy said...

PS: Your Henman/Rusedski comparison is fairly debatable. Rusedski won 15 career titles to Henman's 11, but in head to head matches between them, Henman clobbered him 8-2.

Lewis was definitely much better than Bruno though, no question.

Lucy said...

As soon as i saw your comment about Lewis being born in West Ham i remembered him holding up a West Ham scarf or something similar so yes, you are right, he would pass the Wilshere test. I also agree that he was a far better boxer than Bruno.

I didn't know Tiger Tim had such a decent record against Rusedski either.