“I’m 28. I’m not getting any younger and I’d like to play international football. If I’ve got the chance to play international football with Ireland I’m going to take it with both hands.”.
Every player wants to play at international level, but sadly there’s only room for 22 on the plane so not everyone makes it. But for the lucky few with ‘dual nationality’ there’s always that 2nd chance. Here’s some who took that chance:
Vinnie Jones – Watford born actor Jones was never good enough to play for England. Too aggressive, too slow and simply not as good as what the Three Lion’s had in his position, he had no chance. But Wales were not so picky, and the midfielder managed to get 9 caps.
His paternal grandparents ancestry meant Vinnie qaulified. Unfortunately, 7 of those caps ended in defeat and the other 2 draws. But don’t feel too sorry for Vinnie. He’s made 30 films since hanging up his boots, and now lives in Hollywood with his friends Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Good on you boyo!
Shola Ameobi – The Newcastle striker was born in Nigeria, and has represented England at Under 21 level. However, he is now firmly out of the picture. So far out, he’s hanging the frame for Fabio Capello.
But that hasn’t stopped the Nigerian born target-man, who has now elected to play for the Super Eagles. Ameobi is yet to represent Nigeria in a full international, but his younger brother Sam is about to represent the Nigerian under 20s.
Over half of Ireland’s 1994 World Cup Squad – The biggest punch-line in football, the 1994 Ireland squad made it to the tournament in the USA, whilst Graham Taylor’s men floundered across the Irish sea. 15 of the 22 man squad had been born in England or Scotland but had elected to play for Ireland.
For a while, the Irish team was made up of English ex-pats like John Aldridge, Tony Cascarino and Andy Townsend. The men in green didn’t disgrace themselves at USA 1994 and made it through to the knockout stages. My enduring image of their tournament however will always be John Aldridge swearing at the FIFA representative! One of football’s great moments!
Colin Kazim Richards – Kazim-Richards’ mother is Turkish Cypriot, and although he’s an East End boy, he’s also a proud Turk. His career began at Sheffield United, but he found himself languishing in the reserves until he moved to Fenerbache where he became an overnight sensation. He even managed to become a full Turkish international, his last cap coming in February in Turkey’s 0-0 draw with South Korea.
Follow Peter Turner on Twitter @petermagpie
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