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  -   NEWS
Friday, October 25, 2002
Senegal want Black Cats' Bellion

Sunderland striker David Bellion is at the centre of a tug of war between his native France and Senegal.

David Bellion
Bellion: Senegal call
(BenRadford/GettyImages)
The Sevres-born 19-year-old, whose father is Senegalese, is eligible for both countries, and having not yet represented France at any level, could still play for the West African nation, surprise quarter-finalists in the World Cup during the summer.

Bellion joined the Black Cats from AS Cannes in August 2001 and made his mark in the first team with the winning goal against Aston Villa on September 28 in the dying days of Peter Reid's reign.

Senegal coach Abdoulaye Sarr has phned the quick forward to see if he wanted to join fellow Premiership stars Aliou Cisse, Salif Diao and El Hadji Diouf in the Senegal squad.

`I've been on stand-by for the French Under-21 side twice but they never took me,' Bellion told the Newcastle Journal.

`Last week, I had the head coach of Senegal on the telephone asking me if I would think about playing for him. Now I have a choice to make.

`I haven't played any games for France at any level, so I can still choose.'

However, Sarr's chances of adding Bellion to his resources seem slim.

`At the moment, maybe I'm leaning towards the French, but I will wait to decide,' he said. `It's good to have a choice.

`My mother is French and my father is Senegalese, but I don't have a Senegalese identity. My father, like everybody else, has tried to help me. Nobody has tried to make the choice for me.

`He is happy - when you get called up, the whole family is really happy. It is good for encouragement.

`I just have to keep my feet on the ground and train hard and things will happen for me.

`I'm confident and I think I can do it in the Premiership. I have waited a year and a half for my chance.

`We have a new beginning here at Sunderland and I've got to prove that I'm good enough to start in the team. I will try my hardest to succeed.'

 

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