England for the English, says Jack Wilshere

Studs first, both feet off the ground, Jack Wilshere has waded into the debate over whether Manchester United’s Belgian born midfielder, Adnan Januzaj, should play for England if he becomes eligible.

Januzaj could represent England when he passes FIFA’s five-year residency requirement. The 18-year-old is also eligible to represent, Serbia, Albania and Turkey. However, Arsenal midfielder Wilshere says that only English people should play for England.

Asked about the issue, Wilshere 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’m not going to play for Spain.”

True, first you’d have to be good enough to force your way into their midfield, and on present form, that’s not going to happen.

“We have to remember what we are,” continued ‘Smoking’ Jack.

“We are English. We tackle hard, are tough on the pitch and are hard to beat.

“We have great characters. You think of Spain and you think technical but you think of England and you think they are brave and they tackle hard. We have to remember that.”

Well, all that bravery and hard tackling has worked so well for England over the past 50 years, why change it now.

A more nuanced approach to the issue came from England Under-21 coach Gareth Southgate, who, perhaps mindful of the dwindling pool of talent available to him, was prepared to keep an open mind.

“It’s a difficult one,” said Southgate. “He [Januzaj] has not played for anyone else.

“We have lots of boys in our squad who were not born here, whose families have fled here.

“There are some wonderful stories and they are all incredibly proud to play for England.

“I’m torn with it. The world is changing. People move and work abroad. It is important to know why someone wants to play for you.”