Oct 8, 2013, 11:08 PM EST
The FIFA rules regarding player nation eligibility are muddy, murky, and downright confusing.
However, reports all over England are indicating Roy Hodgson will try his hardest to recruit Manchester United starlet Adnan Januzaj, despite the player being of Belgian and Kosovan descent.
Even if he ultimately cannot play for England, he is already eligible to represent five (!!) countries: Belgium (his birthplace), Kosovo (his parents’ birthplace), Turkey (his grandparents’ birthplace), Serbia and Albania (due to the disputed political status of Kosovo).
Isn’t that a bit ridiculous? Jack Wilshere thinks so.
“The only people who should play for England are English people” Wilshere emphatically told the Daily Mail. “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.”
If Januzaj continues to shine for Manchester United, obviously Hodgson will push hard for his services. But, while maybe harsh, broad, and a bit ignorant, Wilshere makes his point.
What makes someone a member of a certain nationality? Must you hold a passport to a certain country to represent them? Can you only represent the country you were born in? What about the nationality of your parents or relatives? What of players born elsewhere, but move to their home countries while very young and are raised there?
“We have to remember what we are, we are English and we tackle hard and we are tough on the pitch and we are hard to beat. We have great characters. You think of Spain and they are technical, but you think of England and you think they are brave and they tackle hard.”
While style of play may not be the biggest issue, the Arsenal star certainly makes his opinion clear.
The rules are quite confusing. Reports dispute whether Januzaj can play for England after this year, or whether he would have to wait until 2018. The latter is more likely, since FIFA requires a player remain in his home country for a full five years after the age of 18, or gain five years of schooling in that country before 18.
Januzaj – exactly 18 years old – has completed neither, but some in England still cling to a lingering FIFA statute that states a player is eligible for a country after living there for two years. This statute was replaced by the five-year rule, but for some reason was not stricken from the rule book. While an unlikely loophole, it remains to further muddy the waters.
Is your head spinning yet? If not, you’re better than most.
Whether Januzaj is eventually able to play for England or not (it seems unlikely), the rules remain both confusing and off the target. It would seem some serious work must be done.
But what makes someone English? Or French? Or Belgian? Or American? It’s a tough job, but the line must be drawn somewhere, and it’s what FIFA must begrudgingly do.
Dec 5, 2013, 12:42 AM EST
Four weeks ago, Benny Feilhaber wasn’t starting for Kansas City. Now, the former U.S. international’s experiencing a postseason revival.
Dec 4, 2013, 11:18 PM EST
Nine matches. 32 goals. All in one place.
Dec 4, 2013, 10:15 PM EST
Olave, Johnson, and Espindola left, but despite what this year’s narrative said, RSL didn’t rebuild. They merely reloaded.
Dec 4, 2013, 9:33 PM EST
What do you remember about the team’s penalty kick win over the LA Galaxy?
Dec 4, 2013, 8:41 PM EST
Peter Vermes’ MLS Cup finalist can still press and pressure – but there are more winning ways in the playbook now:
Dec 4, 2013, 7:53 PM EST
Back at RFK at the turn of the new Millennium, staunch defense helped KC to its one and only MLS Cup:
Dec 4, 2013, 7:02 PM EST
Arsenal stays four clear while Everton sparks debate as to whether they upgraded after David Moyes’ departure.
Dec 4, 2013, 5:48 PM EST
Moyes says lack of “fortune” hurt United after Red Devils lose yet another home game:
Dec 4, 2013, 5:31 PM EST
The visitors hit Southampton with quick breaks, coming away with a win and proving that possession is, in fact, just nine-tenths of the law.
West Bromwich Albion 2-3 Manchester City: Citizens address road worries with convincing performance at The Hawthorns
Dec 4, 2013, 5:20 PM EST
Two from Yaya Touré and an opener from Kun Agüero helped City address their road demons.
Dec 4, 2013, 5:09 PM EST
Spurs sent a dagger into the hearts of Fulham fans, who saw their club put in an inspired performance only to be sunk by a pair of beautiful strikes from unlikely heroes.
Dec 4, 2013, 5:03 PM EST
Hazard’s masterclass pushes Chelsea over the line against spirited Black Cats:
Dec 4, 2013, 4:55 PM EST
Four goals and an assist for Luis Suárez as Liverpool ran wild over Norwich.
Dec 4, 2013, 4:51 PM EST
Gunners keep firing as they stay top of the tree with comfortable win over Tigers:
Dec 4, 2013, 4:50 PM EST
Peter Crouch and company failed to produce a breakthrough despite owning nearly every chance and plenty of possession.
Dec 4, 2013, 4:47 PM EST
With five minutes left to play, Bryan Oviedo clinched the winner for Everton, keeping them above Manchester United in the table.
Dec 4, 2013, 4:46 PM EST
Second win in three sees Swansea bring Newcastle’s run to an end in Wales.
Dec 4, 2013, 3:32 PM EST
35 minutes was all it took for Luis Suárez to score his third hat trick in three seasons against Norwich.
Dec 4, 2013, 3:30 PM EST
USMNT striker opens the scoring… but Chelsea come roaring back. Watch live:
Dec 4, 2013, 2:50 PM EST
Third place City hope to cure the road woes when they visit The Hawthorns.
- The Benny Feilhaber Conundrum: Has Peter Vermes finally solved the puzzle? 0
- Real Salt Lake’s 2013: The not-so-rebuilding year that could end in an MLS title 1
- Premier League Roundup: Moyes defeated in Everton reunion; top five snag wins 0
- David Moyes bemoans bad luck as former side Everton come back to haunt him 1
- West Bromwich Albion 2-3 Manchester City: Citizens address road worries with convincing performance at The Hawthorns 0
- Sunderland 3-4 Chelsea: Blues grab crucial away win as Hazard dazzles (video) 0
- Arsenal 2-0 Hull City: Bendtner and Ozil keep Gunners top (video) 0
- What US Soccer wants from the World Cup draw 19
- Sit down with Orlando City SC: Taking on Beckham, emulating the Timbers and Kaka in 2015 – Part I (21)
- What US Soccer wants from the World Cup draw (20)
- USA drop one spot to 14th in latest FIFA World Rankings, Portugal surge to fifth (19)
- Video of Jermaine Jones’ terrific goal Saturday for Schalke (17)
- 2014 FIFA World Cup Draw: The sum of all fears scenario for the United States (14)