Gareth Southgate on "intriguing" fixtures at World Cup 2022 draw
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The opportunity to play for England is considered to be a huge honour, but some players are unable to wait for a call-up for the Three Lions before playing international football. Eddie Nketiah and Callum Hudson Odoi are set to add their names to that list, with the duo set to change allegiance to Ghana.
According to football.london, the duo have grown frustrated with their lack of opportunities under Gareth Southgate. And Nketiah has now been granted a Ghanaian passport and is set to join Hudson-Odoi in changing his international allegiance to the African country.
But they are far from the first stars who England have missed out over the years. Real Madrid star Gareth Bale is one who immediately springs to mind, with the Welshman revealing he rejected the Three Lions in favour of playing for the Dragons.
“I had the choice. My grandmother is from England so I had the choice, but I’m from Wales and proud to be so. I’m proud to play for Wales and I give it 100% when I put the shirt on,” he told Cadena Ser show El Larguero in 2015.
It is not only past stars who have rejected England though, with wonderkid Jamal Musiala following Bale in turning down the Three Lions. The Bayern Munich midfielder had appeared to pick England at youth level, but announced in February 2021 that he would play for Germany at senior level, featuring for them at Euro 2020.
Sometimes though, it is not necessarily a player’s choice to turn down England, as is the case with Fabio Carvalho, who had featured for the Three Lions from under 15-under 18s. But having been born in Portugal, he does not yet hold a British passport, meaning England are unable to play him at any level above Under-21s, which Portugal have capitalised on.
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Nketiah and Hudson-Odoi’s story is most similar to that of Wilfried Zaha, who actually played for England at senior level in a friendly back in 2012. But after failing to earn a call-up for four years after that, he opted to change his allegiance to the Ivory Coast, who he has now represented at several major tournaments.
One player who England can only blame themselves for missing out on is Erling Haaland. The Manchester City signing was actually born in Leeds, but had already played competitively for Norway’s senior team before the Three Lions realised the level of his talent, tying him to the Scandinavian country.
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