The intense competition within the National Team can create a sense of pessimism among players, particularly the younger ones. Representing one’s country is considered the most cherished achievement for a footballer. As a result, players who consistently find themselves overlooked and fall behind in the team’s hierarchy are increasingly considering changing their national allegiances to pursue international football opportunities elsewhere.
This emerging trend is somewhat unconventional, as playing for a national team differs significantly from playing for a club. Club involvement is primarily governed by contractual agreements while representing one’s country hinges on a player’s nationality and identity.
For a player to switch their national team affiliation, a few key criteria typically come into play. First and foremost, the player must have held the nationality of their new association at the time of their initial appearance for their original national team. Secondly, a player’s family roots are also considered as a culling factor.
Additionally, they should have participated in no more than three competitive senior matches before turning 21 years old. Another important factor is that the player should not have taken part in the final stage of major official tournaments like the World Cup, European Championship, or Copa America with their previous national team.
Finally, there should be a minimum gap of three years from the player’s last senior appearance for their previous national team before they are eligible to represent their new one. These criteria help regulate the process of changing national team allegiances in international football.
Consequently, many young English players might look to change alliances, with Newcastle United’s Harvey Barnes leading the bandwagon with 4 more English/Newcastle United players eligible for a change.
Harvey Barnes didn’t even find his name among the 55-man provisional squad ahead of the Qatar World Cup, a decision by Southgate that made the 25-year-old contemplate his future. The left winger reportedly turned down the opportunity to play for Scotland a few years ago, but now looks more open-minded with the opportunity.
His eligibility to play for the Tartan Army is due to his Scottish Grandparents and also because he didn’t represent England in any competitive fixture but a friendly match.
The next name on the list is another left-winger, Anthony Gordon. Born in Liverpool, the 22-year-old can also switch alliances to Scotland and the Republic of Ireland, thanks to his Irish and Scottish Grandparents.
He hasn’t represented England at senior level yet, which ticks another box of the eligibility criteria. The former Everton player signed for Newcastle United for 45 million Pounds in the 2023 January transfer window and since then has scored 2 goals in 20 appearances for the Magpies.
The third man on the list is a midfielder, Elliot Anderson, who has already represented Scotland in various youth levels including U-16, U-17, and U-18. Anderson, hailing from England, has strong Scottish roots, tracing back to his paternal grandmother, who was born in Glasgow and later settled in Whitley Bay.
However, in March 2021, Anderson decided to switch his allegiance back to England. His debut for the English team came in a friendly match against Arsenal U23s on March 27, 2021.
Fast forward to August 2023, Anderson’s football journey took another turn when he received his first call-up to the Scotland national team under the guidance of head coach Steve Clarke. This call-up was for a crucial UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying match against Cyprus and a friendly encounter against England. Unfortunately, a week later, he had to withdraw from the squad due to an injury setback.
Matt Targett is another man on the list who has also represented both England and Scotland at youth levels, thanks to his grandmother’s Scottish roots. The 27-year-old left-back has played for several Premier League Clubs throughout the years such as Southampton, Fulham, and Aston Villa, before making his switch to St James Park.
However, the last time he wore a National Team jersey was back in 2016, while representing the Three Lions at England 21. Having already placed twice for Scotland U-19 back in 2013, switching sides will be the most pragmatic discourse as he is the oldest among the 5 players Newcastle players eligible for a switch who is nearing his thirties.
The last man on the list is Tino Livramento. Born to a Scottish mother and a Portuguese Father, he is eligible to represent both Scotland and Portugal national teams. The 20-year-old fullback was a Chelsea youth product and made his professional debut in the Premier League with Southampton before finally joining The Magpies this summer for reportedly 32 million with 8 million add-ons.
He has represented England at every youth level from U-15 to U-21. Tino should not be in any hurry to make a switch as he is still young and the left-back position at England isn’t as competitive as the right-back position, and with a little patience, he might see himself wearing the Three Lions jersey.