Jack Wilshere believes foreign players shouldn't be able to represent England as the debate surrounding Manchester United starlet Adnan Januzaj continues.
Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson admitted last weekend that the FA were exploring the possibility of naturalising the 18-year-old, who is also eligible to play for Belgium, Albania, Turkey and Serbia.
Januzaj would be eligible to play for Roy Hodgson's side in 2018 after five years in England under FIFA rules regarding eligibility.
Speaking ahead of England's crucial World Cup qualifier against Montenegro at Wembley on Friday, Wilshere says he doesn't believe players who qualify through residency such as Januzaj should be able to represent England.
“The only people who should play for England are English people,’’ he said after training at St George’s Park yesterday.
“If you live in England for five years it doesn’t make you English. You shouldn’t play. It doesn’t mean you can play for a country. If I went to Spain and lived there for five years I’m not going to play for Spain.’’
England U21 coach Gareth Southgate is also unsure over handing caps to players with no ancestral connections to the country.
"It's a difficult one," he said ahead of his side's game against San Marino tomorrow. "He's not played for anyone else, so it's slightly different to some of our [England] cricketers.
"We seem to have embraced the England cricket team that have won the Ashes, and as far as I'm aware the majority of them have come in because they are good players, all for slightly different reasons perhaps.
"Historically we would have viewed it in a certain way, but the world is evolving. We have lots of boys in our squad who weren't born here but whose families have fled here, and they're all incredibly proud to play for England.
"The world is changing, families are moving more and more, and working abroad. It's important to know why somebody would want to play for you, and had he played for somebody else that would be more of an issue for me. But if you've not played for anybody then it's a greyer area in my view."
Wilshere meanwhile also spoke out about the recent pictures of him smoking a cigarette, and the Arsenal man confirmed he had spoken to Gunners boss Arsene Wenger over the matter.
"I know when I've done wrong," said Wilshere, who scored Arsenal's equaliser in their 1-1 draw with West Brom on Sunday.
"I spoke to the boss and he supported me through it. He gave me a little telling off, dealt with it and it's over. I said before, I'm not a smoker on 10-a-day or whatever, and I do genuinely believe it is wrong.
"I'm not just a footballer, I'm a top athlete and we have to be at the top of our game. You can't be slacking behind your team-mates when you are competing in training.
"So, yes, it was wrong."
His England team-mates haven't let him off so lightly however.
He said: "When I am getting angry in training all the boys just say: ‚"Calm down, have a fag.' I'm going to have to live with that."
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