Earlier this week, Arsenal midfielder and England international Jack Wilshere spoke out about his feelings on “Englishness” and who should be allowed to play for the England national team: “If you live in England for five years, it doesn’t make you English. We have to remember what we are. We are English. We tackle hard, are tough on the pitch and are hard to beat.”
Although Wilshere denied that his comments were related to Andan Janujaz, the midfielder spoke shortly after England boss Roy Hodgson declared his interest in the Manchester United player. His later comments on Twitter did little to dispel belief that he was referencing the Belgian-born Janujaz: “To be clear, never said ‘born in England’ – I said English people should play for England,” and “My view on football – going to a new country when you’re an adult, and because you can get a passport you play for that national team – I disagree.”
Yunus Lunat, chair of The FA’s race equality advisory group, told BBC Sport that Wilshere’s comments were “unhelpful” and “misguided,” stating, “”He seems to be saying that a lot of these players are not capable – both from a competency point of view and through qualifications – of playing for England. At the moment, it is very unclear and I find it uncomfortable.” However, Lunat added that the 21-year-old should be given the opportunity to respond and clarify exactly what he meant by his comments.