As Fabio Capello begins to finalise his 23 man squad for South Africa, Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has urged the England manager to select Charles N’Zogbia to solve England’s left hand side crisis.
With Ashley Cole facing a battle to be fit for the tournament and an out of position Steven Gerrard occupying the left-hand side, width isn’t England’s strong point.
N’Zogbia is soon to complete the required residential period of leaving in England for five years, making him eligible to be considered for the national side.
The ex-French Under-21 midfielder has yet to be selected for the French senior side and his manager has suggested he should be considered by Capello.
Martinez said: “I asked Charles the other day about England and he said he was hoping. I think he is definitely open to playing for England.
“I thought he wanted to play for France but he’s been living in England so long now he’s ready to present whichever country asks him.”
The left wing position has long been the thorn in any England managers’ side.
Sven Goran Eriksson even resorted to playing Emile Heskey wide left, a player not known for his pace, as resources were limited.
With Joe Cole failing to establish himself in Chelsea’s first team and James Milner playing most of his club football in the centre of midfield, this leaves Stewart Downing as England’s only option.
N’Zogbia is left footed, usually deployed on the right hand side on Wigan’s midfield, showing versatility on both sides of the field.
The former Newcastle player has also filled in at left-back during his spell in the North-East, therefore offering Capello cover.
Not only scoring goals but creating them this season for the Latics proves N’Zogbia possesses more than enough quality to be selected.
But would Capello really consider taking a Frenchmen to wear the three lions shirt this summer?
Well this isn’t the first time a foreigner has been considered for an England call up.
During Eriksson’s reign, the Swede wanted to bring Carlo Cudicini, Louis Saha, Steed Malbranque and Edu into his England squad after Euro 2004.
The fear of an outcry from English supporters of an Italian, a Brazilian and two Frenchmen representing the national side prevented the players from being considered.
Isn’t it about time English football stopped living in a bubble and stopped hampering their own chances of success?
Other sports in this country have adapted to the rules and regulations that allow foreign players to represent the national teams.
Lesley Vainikolo, the most prolific try scorer in Super League history, was called up to England’s rugby union national side, despite originating from New Zealand.
And the ‘Barmy Army’ don’t mind cheering when South African born Kevin Pietersen scores a century for England.
So why should it be any different for the national football side?
Fabio Capello isn’t shy of making big decisions, proved by striping John Terry of the England captaincy.
The Italian could make his boldest move yet by selecting the first overseas player to represent the English this summer.
Written By Michael Muncaster