Arsenal: Jack Wilshere v Mo Farah and Adnan Januzaj’s Manchester United contract
ARSENAL’S Jack Wilshere says only Englishmen should play for England:
“We have to remember what we are. 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. The only people who should play for England are English people. If I went to Spain and lived there for five years, I’m not going to play for Spain.”
That was triggered by the conversation that Manchester United’s teenager Adnan Januzaj could play for England if he passes Fifa’s five-year residency requirement. (He has to live in the Country for five years after turning 18. In five years, Adnan will no longer be the teenage tyro. He’d be mad to wait.)
Gareth Southgate adds:
“It’s a difficult one. 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.”
It’s different it you’re a refugee as opposed to a man who came on a contract to play football? Why? Is it about choice. And, if it is, who is making the harder choice: the man who fled persecution or the man who came on an open ticket?
Former Football Association chairman David Bernstein adds some sense:
“There is much more fluidity in terms of population movement. I would say we must play within the rules but if players are eligible, I would be inclined to pick the best players we can get. Other countries do that.”
Writing in the Telegraph, Paul Hayward notes:
“Wilshere is wrong – Mo Farah is proof we should embrace Britain’s diverse society”
Mo Farrah is not a footballer.
English society has altered dramatically in the past 30 years, as the London Olympics affirmed, with great, rousing triumphs for Mo Farah (Somali-born) and Jessica Ennis (who is mixed race), and a melting-pot audience who displayed a modern, nuanced sense of nationality and background. Even the FA admits that English football has watched with folded arms while other sports trawled outside the old pools.
Jessica Ennis was born in Sheffield.
Farrah was born in Somalia and moved to England as a young boy to live with his British father.
To compare Januzaj with of them is weak. Hayward adds:
According to Wilshere’s logic, Farah, an Arsenal fan, would not make Hodgson’s team because he was not born in England.
Wilshere is no chairman of the immigration board nor the Arsenal brain’s trust. He now speaks at England press conferences because he’s earmarked for greatness. With practice he’ll learn to say “I hope the team does good” and leave it at that. And Farah is nothing like Januzaj, whose only link to England is that he is skilled enough to work for the country’s biggest football team. After United he might find England not worth the effort…