It’s not uncommon in modern day football for players to be eligible to represent multiple different Nations. As the rules dictate a player can play for a different country provided they have not played a full competitive international. Games for international youth teams or friendly appearances would have no impact on future eligibility for a different Nation. However, once a player has made a full competitive appearance for one country, the player would not then be able to play for a different country.
An example of such a case is newly capped England player Danny Welbeck. Welbeck won his first England cap in the recent friendly against Ghana – but he is also eligible to play for Ghana. However the Manchester United player has confirmed he will now commit to England.
Welbeck said “I got misquoted on one of the questions. My future looks like it’s with England, definitely. I’ve been in Manchester all my life and I’m a Manc through and through. I’ve played for England at all the youth levels up to the Under 21s and it just felt like progression to graduate to the seniors and, the other day, it happened as well.”
It does open up an interesting discussion on whether players should be able to play for a different country after not breaking into the full England team?
I think it’s fairly clear that if a player can play for a different country they should be encouraged to do so. However, if a player has already represented England at various youth levels, should they then be able to switch to a different country?
In my opinion, yes they should be able to. I just feel that if a player has a chance at an international career they shouldn’t be prevented from doing so just because he played for England at various youth levels.
However, are the current rules fair and should players have to pick a Nation before being able to make an appearance at various youth levels? Of course it’s difficult when the player is very young and at which stage should a player have to decide?
In many ways this shows that the current system is indeed right. The only slightly gray area is U21 level, because this is the natural progression to senior level and you would like to know these players are going be available. However, if a player isn’t going to be good enough to play for England it’s good to know they still have a shot at an International career.
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