England cannot be arrogant and just assume that players with dual nationality will choose the Three Lions ahead of other countries, former Football Association technical director Dan Ashworth has warned.
“A lot of people have a lot of different ties, emotions,” he said, explaining how the FA is actively tracking a crop of young players. “We have 75 under-15s on our radar, our ‘long list’, and 55 have dual or more nationality,” Ashworth said. “That could be Scotland, Ireland and Wales as well, but the diversity of our country is thankfully changing.
“That gives us a bigger and better pool of players to pick from, but it also brings words of warning to governing bodies and national associations: don’t assume they are locked into your particular nation because, like in club land, there might be more suitors looking.”
Ashworth, 48, who left the FA after six years in February to take the technical director’s job at Brighton, said: “We cannot be arrogant enough to assume that if you are living in England you automatically want to play for England.”
The flip side is that England should not be afraid to recruit players eligible for other countries, as they did with West Ham United’s Declan Rice, who has switched from the Republic of Ireland.