Allardyce: England coach open to selecting foreign-born players for England

Sam Allardyce

The Football Association has previously held discussions over possible call-ups for several players including goalkeeper Manuel Almunia

England manager Sam Allardyce is keen to the leave the door open for foreign-born players to enter the national team set-up and has told British media he would have no problem picking a player who qualified only through residency.

Allardyce had earlier revealed he had hoped to call up Steven N’Zonzi, who has lived in England for six years, but his attempts were thwarted by FIFA because the Sevilla midfielder is ineligible after featuring for the France under 21 side.

The Football Association has previously held discussions over possible call-ups for several players including goalkeeper Manuel Almunia, midfielder Mikel Arteta and winger Adnan Januzaj on residency grounds.

"Do you pick the best squad to win the World Cup, and if one or two of those are like N’Zonzi, do you do it? Or don’t you and then suffer the consequences of not getting to the quarter-final and failure?" Allardyce said.

"The percentage of English players in the Premier League is 31 percent. Surely if you’re going to win something and that player is of the calibre to force his way into that side then you give him an opportunity?

"If he goes out and scores the winner will it be quite that bad?… It’s not my department to find those. We have a department to look at the whole situation at all areas for every international team."

Former Sunderland and Newcastle United manager Allardyce, who will lead England for the first time in their World Cup qualifier in Slovakia on Sunday, also said taking up the England job was likely to be "the final challenge of a long career".

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