Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

Jack Wilshere's views out-ofdate before he was even born

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

Jack Wilshere said only English players should play for England
Jack Wilshere said only English players should play for England

Jack Wilshere's Little Englander remarks have been described as offensive in some circles, but 'anachronistic' is probably more apt.

The single nation entity ethos was out of date even before the Arsenal (and of course Ingur-land) midfielder was born.

That's why modern 'English' heroes include the Somali-born Mo Farah, South African natives Kevin Pietersen and Justin Rose and the born-in-Kenya Chris Froome.

Wilshere probably doesn't know that one of England's most gifted players of the past, John Barnes, hails from Jamaica (they whispered those sort of things back then).

He will know, however, that two of the most powerful football nations on earth, Germany and Spain, are, despite their sins of the past, rather pragmatic these days when it comes to fishing outside insular boundaries.

That's why Wilshere's team-mate Mesut Ozil – of Turkish descent – will turn out for Germany in next year's World Cup, while the Brazilian Diego Costa is likely to feature for defending champions Spain.

But will Jack be there with England? Two of the last four England managers were foreigners – Sven-Goran Eriksson and Fabio Capello.

Neither were hugely popular with the fans but, under them, England had no problems qualifying for the major tournaments.

In between those two, however, they had the bumbling Steve McClaren, who failed to get 'The Golden Generation' to the 2008 European Championship.

And now it's squeaky bum time again, courtesy of Roy Hodgson's rather underwhelming performance as Capello's replacement.

Perhaps Jack Wilshere should be careful what he wishes for.

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