Despite the fact he left the Premier League for La Liga last year, new England boss Sam Allardyce has been paying close attention to Sevilla’s defensive midfielder Steven Nzonzi in recent months.
The 27-year-old, who spent three years with Stoke City before moving to Andalusia last July, has apparently contacted the Football Association to make himself available for international duty.
Nzonzi completed more than five years’ residency in the United Kingdom - it was Allardyce who initially signed the defensive midfielder for Blackburn Rovers in 2009 - and England explored the possibility of calling up the Frenchman by taking the matter to FIFA.
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This is according to the Telegraph, who have revealed why England’s plan has been blocked by world football’s governing body.
Because Nzonzi played for the France Under-21 side seven years ago, FIFA have told the FA that they’re unable to call him up.
FIFA have offered the FA the chance to appeal but, according to the report, it is unlikely to be successful.
Allardyce admits interest in Nzonzi
“We did have a call, and it would have been of interest for me. We did explore it, but it was impossible, and it’s dead now,” Allardyce told reporters.
"Steven is very good, he never got the credit that he deserves because of his size. Being too big can be a hindrance to a footballer because [people] think their feet are not as clever and they’re not as mobile or sharp.”
Other players have switched nationalities in the past
However, there are many examples of footballers who have represented one country at Under-21 level before switching to another at senior level.
Kevin-Prince Boateng, for example, represented Germany up until the Under-21s before deciding he wanted to play for Ghana at full international level.
Clearly, the rules have changed since then.
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