It’s a lot of pressure for a teenager to be put under, but once again there could be a war between countries over one of the Premier League’s hottest prospects.
Similar to the situation when Manchester United winger Adnan Januzaj burst onto the scene earlier in the season, the FA are thought now to also have their eyes on Spurs midfielder Nabil Bentaleb.
The 19-year-old has impressed since being given a chance in the first team at the end of December 2013, picking up man-of-the-match when they hosted Crystal Palace, but the French born player could represent a number of countries.
Born to Algerian parents in Lille, Bentaleb has the option of three nations should he stay in Britain for five years and receive a UK passport. And it’s raised a lot of questions.
Since Januzaj and Bentaleb have been thrust onto the England radar there has been a lot of debate as to whether the young starlets should be allowed to play for the Three Lions. Jack Wilshere recently came out and said, “The only people who should play for England are English people.”
This led to severe criticism, with calls of xenophobia towards the Arsenal midfielder, meanwhile Tim Sherwood has also admitted Bentaleb is “blatantly French”.
The Spurs gaffer added, “He would have to wait a while [to be eligible for England], but if he carries on as he is then he would be knocking on the door this year for the French World Cup squad, you would have thought.”
And that could happen. France do have a wealth of options in midfield, but with the obligatory injury that hampers every World Cup squad, he could be cast into the spotlight, and even play a part for Les Bleus in Brazil who can be backed to win the tournament with a free bet at 6-1 with most bookmakers.
The debate between who can play for English national teams has only really surrounded football. After all, we all went crazy for Mo Farah who has since become a national treasure, and the English cricket team over the years has had its fair share of foreign-born stars, but is it ok for Roy Hodgson to select someone not necessarily born in this country?
Football has changed a great deal over the last few years. It’s the universal game and any player with ambition wants to grace the Premier League. Bentaleb has adapted to British life, and the multicultural lifestyle in the Tottenham dressing room, and will be eligible to play for England by the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
The one question that has to be asked however is, if he continues to light up the Premier League, will he want to wait four years to play international football?