Coral’s foreign-born British and Irish international XI
There has been a lot of talk recently of footballers who represent British and Irish nations, that were in fact born either overseas or in rival neighbouring lands.
Coral football writers, therefore, have decided to come up with starting XI of players who are in the current squads for their respective nations. That means the likes of Steven Fletcher, Phil Bardsley and James McCarthy miss out, as they have pulled out injured.
Matt Gilks (Scotland) – Goalkeeper
Oldham-born Gilks, now 32, only earned his first of three Scotland caps to date in 2012 by Craig Levein, and qualifies through his Scottish grandmother. The stopper now turns out for Burnley, where he is understudy to Tom Heaton.
Scott Wiseman (Gibraltar) – Right back
Scotland and Stoke City full back Bardsley would’ve occupied this position had he not been injured, but we have to commend Gibraltar for restricting world champions Germany to only a 4-0 win in Nuremberg. Hull-born Wiseman is the tiny nation’s highest profile player, and turned out for his hometown club but now plies his trade in League One for Preston North End.
Ashley Williams (Wales) – Centre back
Wales captain Williams, 30, was actually born in England, but the Swansea City defender earned his first cap in 2008. He has been an absolute rock at the back for the Dragons, and is one match away from being a half centurion. Wales are still unbeaten in Euro 2016 Group B, and are 11/8 chances to qualify.
Ciaran Clark (Republic of Ireland) – Centre back
Clark represented England from Under-17 to Under-20 level and was born in Harrow, but eventually chose the nation where his father was brought up. The versatile Aston Villa man, 25, has now earned 10 caps for Ireland.
Sam Ricketts (Wales) – Left back
Due to lack of options, English-born Ricketts occupies our left back position. The Wolves veteran defender is adept to playing in this role, and qualifies for Wales through his grandmother. Since declaring his allegiance to the Dragons, he has gone on to earn 52 caps.
James Morrison (Scotland) – Central midfield
Garth Crooks once said Morrison should be playing for the Three Lions, but he did not know that he had already played for Scotland in competitive matches. Crooks could have been forgiven for the fact that the West Bromwich Albion star was actually born in Darlington, County Durham.
Oliver Norwood (Northern Ireland) – Central Midfield
Yet another English-born player in this side, former Manchester United youth player Norwood decided to represent Northern Ireland, where he thought he would have more chance of playing. After impressing for Huddersfield Town, the 23-year-old has now moved on to Reading.
Shaun Maloney (Scotland) – Right wing
Scotland’s star against the Republic of Ireland last time out was born and lived in Malaysia until the age of five. The Wigan Athletic star is Scottish through and through, though, and is a 7/2 chance to score anytime against Auld Enemy England.
Raheem Sterling (England) – Attacking midfield
England’s next big thing Sterling considered representing his nation of birth, Jamaica, but, luckily for the Three Lions, the Liverpool star is now tied down to Roy Hodgson’s side.
Aiden McGeady (Republic of Ireland) – Left wing
There was a lot of controversy before the Scotland and Ireland match, as both McGeady and Everton clubmate McCarthy were born north of England’s border. The tricky Toffees winger was booed by the Glasgow faithful with every move.
Saido Berahino (England) – Striker
The Baggies’ Burundi-born Berahino is England newest star, and is in line to play some part against Scotland for his first senior cap. After fleeing his war-torn land of birth as a child, the 21-year-old has highly impressed for West Brom and the Young Lions. He is 5/1 to net last against Gordon Strachan’s men.