The FA believes Mikel Arteta will not be eligible to represent England despite spending five years in the country.
There has been much discussion about Arteta taking UK citizenship and becoming eligible to play for England, with the player admitting last month that he would "consider it very seriously" if approached.
However, Article 18.1.a of the FIFA statutes states that that any player who has represented their country in an official competition, at whatever level, would at that time need to have held a passport for the country they later wish to play for in order to be permitted to make the switch.
Arteta played for Spain in the Under-16 European Championships and the FIFA Under-17 World Championships and, as such, it appears any application to play for England would be automatically rejected.
An FA spokesman said: "Under our understanding of FIFA rules, the player is ineligible to play for England."