An Englishman speaks out

By October 9, 2013February 18th, 2021No Comments

International Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere hits out at flawed selection rules: ‘Adnan Januzaj must not play for England’

The Arsenal midfielder also said an English manager for the England team was preferable

Sam Wallace

Wednesday 09 October 2013

Jack Wilshere has said that it would be wrong for the Football Association to push for the naturalisation of Manchester United’s teenager Adnan Januzaj, an option it has pursued in recent months with the player yet to choose for whom he will play international football.

Wilshere said that the rule which dictates a player can qualify to represent a country in the international game if he lives for five years in that nation after his 18th birthday was flawed and that, “if you live in England for five years, it doesn’t make you English”.

Meanwhile, Glenn Hoddle has been named in Greg Dyke’s Football Association commission to solve the declining numbers of English players in the Premier League. The former England manager has not held a role at the FA since he lost his job with the national team in controversial circumstances in 1999. Dyke will announce the composition of the commission officially on Wednesday at the Leaders in Football conference at Stamford Bridge.

Zanuzaj, 18, is of Albanian-Kosovan descent and was born in Brussels but has so far rejected the opportunity to play for Belgium at youth level. He could play for any of the six former Yugoslavia nations, through his father’s place of birth, and Turkey, through his mother. It is thought that he wants to represent Kosovo, who are not yet recognised by Fifa.

Roy Hodgson confirmed during his appearance on Match of the Day on Saturday that the FA had been looking at the possibility of bringing Januzaj into the England squad. The teenager joined United from Anderlecht at the age of 16 and could feasibly become eligible for England in 2016. Fifa rules stipulate that a player must have lived in the country for five years after their 18th birthday, with an exception made for asylum-seekers.

Asked about the possibility of Zanuzaj playing for England, Wilshere said: “No, for me if you are English you are English and you play for England. The only people who should play for England are English people. 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.”

He added that an English manager for the England team was also preferable: “It’s better if there is an Englishman but don’t get me wrong, [Fabio] Capello did a lot for my England career. He brought me here and gave me my debut and stuck with me from a young age, so he was a good manager as well.”

The England squad is injury-free for the final two World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro on Friday and Poland four days later.


Jack Wilshere is quite right and his courage in speaking the truth publicly deserves praise rather than censure. He also said (according to the BBC) that “We [ie, the English] should remember who we are”.

Meanwhile a former FA Chairman, with the decidedly unEnglish name Bernstein, has opined that “We live in a changing world” and says that we must take advantage of the residency rule which allows foreigners to play for England’s national team after having lived in the country for five years. Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?

A dog may be born in a stable but does not thereby become a horse.

The institutional discrimination practised for many years against the English by premier league football clubs and which has resulted in the domination of the league by foreign players, is an equally abhorrent outrage.

But one cannot realistically expect this problematic situation to be properly addressed by the same kind of Establishment bigot who created it in the first place.