Picking an England XI to Annoy Jack Wilshere

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterOctober 9, 2013

Picking an England XI to Annoy Jack Wilshere

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    Jack Wilshere has caused quite a stir with his latest comments, reported by The Guardiansuggesting we should "keep England for the English."

    It's in response to the Adnan Januzaj debate, in which many prominent figures are wading in to give their views on a convoluted, messy subject.

    Wilshere doesn't really define what he sees as "English," though, and his comments have simply muddied the water further. What qualifies you to be English? Must you be born in England, raised in England, speak English perfectly?

    We've crafted an England XI that might well annoy Jack Wilshere, given his views on the matter and stuck him right in the middle of it.


    *Please note: this is a tongue-in-cheek reaction to Wilshere's recent interview on the Januzaj debacle. Its aim is to highlight the difficulties in defining what is "English" and what is not, given the astonishing amount of complex scenarios presented with each player.


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    Manuel Almunia, 36, Watford

    Manuel Almunia has never been capped for Spain (or the Basque national team), but seemingly came pretty close to a call-up from Fabio Capello in the run-up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

    The Spaniard has endured a steep fall from grace since those heady times, and the former Arsenal No. 1 now plays for promotion-chasing Watford in the Championship.


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    Carl Jenkinson, 21, Arsenal

    The multilingual Jenkinson shares a changing room with Jack Wilshere at club level, and played for Finland at every youth level before switching allegiances to England last year.

    His mother is a Finnish-Swede.


    Nathaniel Chalobah, 18, Chelsea

    Chalobah was born in Sierra Leone and, like many Premier League stars, could opt to play for them at a later date. He's currently embroiled in the England youth sectors.


    Rafael and Fabio Da Silva, 23, Manchester United

    As pointed out by Ed Malyon at The Mirror, Rafael is now eligible for an England call-up having spent five years in the country as a United employee. Having only made two friendly appearances for Brazil—the Olympics are considered youth level—he can switch nationalities if he wishes.

    Fabio, his twin brother, is also eligible, having only played two friendlies as well.


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    Jack Wilshere, 21, Arsenal

    Wilshere will be made captain of our international selection, leading the team from midfield. He's an excellent footballer who takes pride in playing for his country, but he'd probably feel a little disillusioned when glancing at this team sheet.


    Mikel Arteta, 31, Arsenal

    Despite his obvious talents, Arteta has never been called up to the Spanish national side and never received so much as a meaningless friendly outing.

    He would need a passport, but given the fact he's been in the country since 2005, that's probably not going to be an issue. Would Wilshere turn his nose up at a man he plays in midfield with every week?


    Bradley Johnson, 26, Norwich City

    Canaries midfielder Johnson has suggested it's a "great achievement" to be watched by England' staff as per BBC, despite admitting he would jump at the chance to represent the U.S. national side three years before.

    How do you feel about that seismic switch in philosophy, Jack?


    Gael Bigirimana, 19, Newcastle United

    Bigirimana was born in Bujumbura, Burundi and moved to England in 2004, aged 11. He has since turned his back on the Rwanda national team, rejected a call-up for Burundi citing political instability and turned out for the England youth sides.


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    Wilfried Zaha, 20, Manchester United

    Dazet Wilfried Armel Zaha, born in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, is hardly the most English name in the book. Although raised from an early age in London, Wilshere's lack of clarification on what makes an Englishman English brings the United starlet into our XI.


    Adnan Januzaj, 18, Manchester United

    And of course, Januzaj, the man in the spotlight, features in our international English XI.

    He's being courted by England, Belgium, Albania, Turkey and even Kosovo—should they put together a team—and faces some tough decisions with regard to where he feels truly affiliated.



    Now, if we could just define what "English" means, maybe we'll have a better shot at working out who's eligible for Jack's XI and who's not...