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ESPN FC Posted by ESPN staff
Oct 8, 2013

'Only English Should Play For England'

England midfielder Jack Wilshere has questioned the Football Association's possible recruitment of Belgium-born Adnan Januzaj, insisting only "English people" should play for the national team.

Wayne Rooney celebrates with Jack Wilshere after giving England the lead
Wilshere believes experienced players like Rooney will serve England well.

Januzaj turned down an international call-up for Belgium's World Cup qualifiers this week, prompting suggestions for the FA to consider making him a Three Lions player.

Although the 18-year-old is also eligible to play for Turkey and Serbia, he could turn out for England in 2018 under FIFA's residency rules if he remains in the Premier League until then.

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But Wilshere believes the FA's ploy is off the mark.

"The only people who should play for England are English people," he said. "If you live in England for five years, it doesn't make you English.

"You shouldn't play. It doesn't mean you can play for a country. If I went to Spain and lived there for five years, I'm not going to play for Spain."

Wilshere also commented on the influx of foreign stars in the Premier League, insisting it should not be a cause for concern for England as they look to build toward next summer's World Cup finals.

The lack of English players getting opportunities to play in England's top flight has often been a topic for debate, but Wilshere has now joined the argument to insist the "crisis" is not as big as some have suggested.

"I don't think we should be worried at all," he said. "You look in the Premier League and we saw Ravel Morrison burst onto the scene this season, and he is a great prospect for the future. It's not just him. There are other great England players coming through as well.

"OK, there is a few foreign players as well, but I can learn from the foreign players at Arsenal. Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil, they are top, top players, and I can only learn from them. It's a positive, I think.

"Teams want the best players, and if you have the best players coming through the academy, you will play. If you are good enough, it doesn't matter where you come from, but you have to be good enough."

Meanwhile, Wilshere believes the sparkling form of Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge should fill England with optimism ahead of Friday's crucial qualifier against Montenegro at Wembley Stadium.

England's failure to find a prolific sidekick for Rooney has long been one of their failings in major tournaments, but Wilshere believes England now have the firepower required to make a mark on the biggest of stages.

"Sturridge is the best striker in the league this season," Wilshere added. "Rooney doesn't lose his appetite and is Manchester United's best player, so those two can be important for us.

"Having Sturridge and Rooney back is going to be massive for us in these qualifiers, as you want your best players available.

"Rickie Lambert has done a great job. He scored a couple and did well in Ukraine, which was a difficult place to go and be up there on your own and do the job he did. He did really well.

"We have got [Jermain] Defoe as well, who can score from any position and Danny Welbeck as well, who is looking sharp. We have got a good mix there, and it can only be helpful for us."

Wilshere went on to speak about the influence the senior England players are still having in the squad, with two of his former role models singled out for special praise.

"Having players like Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney, who have been there in big tournaments and big qualifiers, that will help us," he said. "As a young footballer, I grew up watching those two [Gerrard and Lampard].

"The way Steven Gerrard passes the ball, his range of passing, the way he puts his foot in. The way Lampard gets forward, and his goal-scoring record speaks for itself. So I can learn from him."

Wilshere was again forced to comment publicly on the photograph of him smoking outside a London nightclub last week, which infuriated his club manager, Arsene Wenger.

The 21-year-old has admitted he will learn from his mistake.

"I've learnt that you've just got to concentrate on your football. You're a footballer at the end of the day, and when it comes to the weekend, you've got to be ready.

"Players and young people make mistakes, and I made a mistake. I spoke to the boss and we sorted it out, and he put me in the team on Sunday, and, hopefully, I repaid him with a goal. So, hopefully, it's all done now."

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