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By ESPN Staff

Belgians lukewarm on Malbranque offer

BRUSSELS, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Steed Malbranque's desire to switch nationalities from France to Belgium to kick-start his international career has been given a lukewarm response by Belgian national boss Aime Anthuenis.

Malbranque, 24, who was born in Mouscron in Belgium, has been overlooked by France despite some good performances for Fulham this season.

Last Friday Malbranque told the London Evening Standard he might switch nationalities because he was frustrated at not making the French senior squad after representing the country at every junior level since he was 14.

But, ahead of Wednesday's friendly between Belgium and France in Brussels, Anthuenis told a news conference: 'My question is: is he really interested in playing for Belgium or just frustrated not to play for France.

'I have asked the Belgian federation to consider the case, but apparently, he would not be eligible.' he added.

Malbranque played for current French coach Jacques Santini at Olympique Lyon before Santini sold him to Fulham for £4.5million in 2001.