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10 Footballers Who Chose Not To Play For England Ft. Bale, Haaland, Iwobi, McTominay

The England national team is one of the biggest  and most star-studded national teams in the world.   Almost every footballer who is eligible to play  for them prays and hopes to one day get a call up. But there have been quite a number who  have had the opportunity to play for the   Three Lions and have turned it down. Here are 10  footballers who chose not to play for England.

1. Jamal Musiala

Musiala is one of the most talented teenagers  in the world of football right now. And when   he established himself as a regular for the  Bayern Munich first team at the young age of 17,   multiple national teams wanted  him to pledge allegiance to them. And when we say multiple, we really mean multiple.   2 years ago, Musiala was eligible to  play for Nigeria, Germany, England,   and Poland. His mom is Polish while his father  is British-Nigerian, but he was born in Germany. The wonderkid eventually chose to  play for his country of birth in 2021,   but it surely was not an easy decision. And you  would know just by looking at his youth career. He started out playing for the England under  15s when he was still at the Chelsea academy.   He then moved to Germany under 16s. Now, after he moved to Bayern,  he decided to go back to the   England youth system and played for their  under 16, under 17, and under 21 teams. At this point, England considered themselves  forerunners for his international commitment.

But he broke English hearts  on the 24th of February, 2021,   when he announced that he would be representing  Germany at the senior level. The following month,   he was called up to the German national  team and days after, he made his debut. When asked why he chose Germany over England,   Musiala revealed that there  wasn’t much to it. He said: “I just listened to the feeling  that, over a long period of time,   kept telling me that it was the right decision  to play for Germany, the land I was born in.”

2. Alex Iwobi

Iwobi, like Musiala, was eligible  to play for England and Nigeria.   He was born in Lagos, Nigeria,  but he grew up in London. Again, like Musiala, Iwobi represented  England at the youth level.   He even won the Victory Shield  with the England under 16s. But in 2015, he declared that he would be   representing Nigeria and not  England at the senior level. Explaining why he made that decision, Iwobi said: “My family are all from Nigeria. I  was born in Nigeria, my uncle, Jay-Jay   Okocha, is a legend in Nigeria…so  I made that decision to switch.”

3. Gareth Bale

Bale is a Welshman through and  through. Right from the youth level,   he always knew he wanted to represent  Wales. It was always Wales or nothing. In fact, before he made his debut with the  senior team, his agent brought up the idea   of playing for England and he threatened  to sack him because of that suggestion. Jonathan Barnett himself revealed that  when he brought that up with Bale,   the Real Madrid man replied: “Never say that again if you want to be my agent.” That is how much Bale cherishes Wales.  The lad wasn’t joking when he said   “Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order.” Pretty fitting that he now  captains the senior team, isn’t it?

4. Scott McTominay

McTominay was born in England to Scottish  parents, and you know what that means;   he could play for either of the two countries. When he broke into the Manchester  United first team in 2017,   he became a pretty sought after midfielder.   But it looked like England hesitated to call him  because they already had a pretty packed midfield. So, his manager at United at the time, Jose  Mourinho, stepped in and told him to ditch   England. In February 2018, Mourinho even went as  far as telling the Scotland coach at the time,   Alex McLeish, to call McTominay because, in his  words, “it looks like England is missing him”. The following month, McTominay was called  up by Scotland, and after his first two   games for the national team, here’s what  the Man United midfielder had to say: “I wanted to play for Scotland and I always have  since I was a young boy and it was an incredibly   proud moment for me when the coach called me  up and hopefully I can kick on and do well.”

5. Erling Haaland

Oh yes, even the 2020 Golden  Boy was eligible to play for   England. We all know his father, don’t we?  If you’re old enough, you’ll remember that   Alf-Ing Haaland was a Premier League  star back in the 90s and early 2000s. In 2000, he was playing for Leeds United,  and had Erling in July of that year in Leeds. So, as a result of that, Erling  was eligible to play for both   England and his parents’ country, Norway. Of course, as you know, he chose Norway, even  though you get the feeling he would have had more   shots at an international trophy with England. But  the Man City man surely didn’t care about that.

6. Wilfired Zaha

Zaha was born in Ivory Coast but he and  his family moved to London when he was   just 4 years old. So, he was eligible  to play for England and Ivory Coast. His first choice was obviously England. He  featured for the under 19 and under 21 teams,   and guess what! He even got called up to the  senior team by former Crystal Palace manager,   Roy Hodgson, who was England manager back in 2012. He played 2 games for the Three Lions,  but none of them were competitive.   So, when he requested that FIFA switch  his allegiance to his country of birth,   Ivory Coast, in 2016, his wish was easily granted. Since then, he has gone on to represent The  Elephants in 3 international tournaments.

7. Michail Antonio

We’ll just start with this:   Antonio’s international journey  has been a pretty confusing one. So, he was born in London to Jamaican parents,  and of course, you know what that means. In March 2016, he declared  that he had turned down Jamaica   As he was hoping to feature for  his country of birth, England. To his delight, he was called up later  that year for a World Cup qualifier,   but he didn’t come off the bench. The following year, he earned another call up,   but he had to withdraw from the squad  because of an injury he picked up. Fast forward to 2021, and Antonio’s  priorities seemed to have changed.

He now wanted to play for Jamaica. The Caribbean  country approached him in February, and the   West Ham forward said he was passionate about  helping them reach the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The following month, he publicly declared  that he wanted to play for Jamaica, and so   he started processing a Jamaican passport! But boom! A 19-man shortlist was announced  by Jamaica on the 17th of March, 2021,   and the Premier League striker was not included! Rumors were that it was because Antonio  had not really made up his mind,   and was still holding out for a call from England. But well, 3 months later, he had made up his mind  for sure and was included in the 60-man squad to   represent Jamaica at the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup.  But guess what! He missed out on the final 23-man   shortlist! This time, it was because he failed  to secure his Jamaican passport quickly enough. So, bear in mind, at this point,  he could still play for England. August 2021 was another time to try for  Jamaica.

He had now obtained his passport   and he was included in the 35-man list for  World Cup qualifiers. But YET AGAIN, he was not   able to join the squad in Mexico for the first  game because of COVID 19 travel restrictions. He finally, finally made that competitive  international debut in a World Cup qualifier   against Panama on the 5th of  September, 2021 at the age of 31. Whew. That was a real rollercoaster. But yeah,  you get the point. He ditched England for Jamaica.

8. Adnan Januzaj

Prior to 2014, Janujaz was eligible to play for  Belgium, Kosovo, Turkey, Serbia, and Croatia.   Kosovo was quickly out of the conversation as  they weren’t a FIFA recognized team at the time. Serbia, Turkey, and Croatia were  the next to be ruled out as Adnan’s   father said that they had no real  connections with the countries. His parents, who are Kosovar-Albanian, loved  the idea of their son playing for Albania,   but, according to his dad, the Albanians  were not being very professional.

With Belgium alone left on the list, England  stepped into the race for the lad who was playing   for Manchester United at the time. Since he had  been living in England since he was 16, if they   could get him to naturalize as a UK citizen,  Roy Hodgson would immediately call him up. But Januzaj wasn’t really interested in  that call up. He opted for Belgium in 2014   and went to the World Cup in  Brazil with them that year.

9. Matty Cash

This one is fairly recent so you  probably remember all that happened. Cash was born in England, but his mom is  Polish. So, in 2021, he obtained a Polish   passport and declared his interest to play for  the Poland national team instead of England. He was immediately called up  in November and made his debut   in a World Cup qualifying game against Andorra. A lot more straightforward  than Antonio’s case, isn’t it?

10. Ademola Lookman

This is another recent one. Lookman was born in London to Nigerian parents, so   until this year, he was eligible  to play for England and Nigeria. England looked more likely to tie him down,   With the Leicester City forward having played  for England under 19s, under 20s, and under 21s. But Nigeria was really pushing to  get the commitment of the youngster.   Lookman met with the president of  the Nigeria Football Federation   (NFF) in 2018, but still turned down the  opportunity to play for the Super Eagles. In 2020, the NFF announced that Lookman would  be representing Nigeria at the senior level,   but Lookman replied by saying “I’ve not changed  my mind about wanting to represent England.”

Anyway, after turning them down 3 times,  Lookman finally sent a request to FIFA to   switch allegiances to Nigeria. It was approved,  and he finally abandoned his Three Lions dream   and debuted for the Super Eagles in a World  Cup qualifier against Ghana in March 2022. Are there more players you know who were eligible   to play for the Three Lions but chose  not to? Let us know in the comments. As usual, like the video if you enjoyed it and  subscribe to the channel, too. Also, turn on the   Bell notification so you never miss out on new  content. We’ll catch you in the next one. Bye!


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