Football

Januzaj nationality causes widespread debate

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Miroslav Klose, Claude Makelele, Patrick Vieira, John Barnes, Deco, Marcel Desailly, Lukas Podolski. They all have something in common, none of them played for their country of birth, but is this right, or even fair?

The ambiguous international career of Manchester United starlet Adnan Januzaj is one of the major talking points in world football. The 18-year-old is eligible for Belgium, Albania, Serbia, and also possibly, in the future, England.

Questions have also been asked about English eligibility of Liverpool left-back Jose Enrique and Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta as even England are beginning to endorse the world-wide tradition of raking through eligibility papers to find a good player born thousands of miles from their country.

Germany did it, their 2008 European Championship squad included five players born outside of Germany, spanning so far as Brazil.

But what would you rather see, a team from your league made up of 'foreigners' who have gained citizenship, or an international side representative of your nationality, not your league?

It's difficult, but if England want to win games, maybe fishing into the Premiership for a few eligible players might be the best bet after fairly mediocre performances at international tournaments.

Admittedly, if there was a rule that you must represent the country you were born in world football would be very different.

African football would have been graced by Patrick Vieira, Claude Makelele and Marcel Desailly, Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose would have lined up in attack for Poland and Terry Butcher would have represented footballing minnows Singapore.

There is a prevailing orthodoxy that you should represent the country you were born in, and this would stop international football becoming more and more like club football, a monopoly.

FIFA have adopted an 'it depends' approach to eligibility of players, revising each case individually, and this has lead to an exploitation of teams like Germany who have fetched many players from the case revision process.

The use of players born elsewhere is acceptable, but there should be a limit for countries, so that a full side cannot be players from the league who have gained citizenship, because the focus on youth will become minimal.

 

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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