• England

Ex-FA chairman disagrees with Wilshere comments

ESPN staff
October 9, 2013
David Bernstein believes the best players need to be picked © AP

Former FA chairman David Bernstein believes the English national team should look to start recruiting players born outside of the country for their national team set-up, countering the comments made by Jack Wilshere on Adnan Januzaj.

England have expressed an interest in recruiting Manchester United youngster Januzaj, who currently qualifies for a number of countries including Belgium and Albania but could in the future take advantage of a five-year residency rule to represent the Three Lions.

Arsenal midfielder Wilshere suggested on Tuesday that the likes of Januzaj should not be allowed to play for England, but Bernstein feels it is the sensible option.

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"I'd say we must play within the rules obviously, but if within the rules there are players who are eligible to play for England I would be inclined to pick the best players we can get," he told BBC Radio Five Live. "Other countries do that and we want to be on a level playing field doing that.

"I would prefer to see a team made up of people who are born and bred, but I think we have to play within the rules and get the very best team. I think that's what the public want and I think that's what the fans want."

His comments echo those of FA director of football development Sir Trevor Brooking, who told ESPN earlier this week: "England has become a very multi-cultural society in recent years and that opens up the possibility of players coming into our national team set-ups at varying age levels who may not necessarily have been born here or come through our system.

"Some nations have a chance to try and get players on board for their national team set-up a little earlier than us and it would be good to have a chance to work with young players whenever they come into our country and try to integrate them into the Club England set-up."

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