The England manager, Fabio Capello, refused to comment yesterday on suggestions that he is contemplating the controversial selection of Mikel Arteta, Everton's Spanish midfielder who is eligible to play for England having never represented his native Spain.
Arteta, 28, could become a naturalised British citizen, having been in the country for five years with Everton. When Capello left Craven Cottage last night, having seen Fulham's 2-2 draw with Manchester United, he refused to be drawn on the issue saying: "I not speak about these things."
However, the Football Association is refusing to comment on the possibility that England could yet turn to a player born in San Sebastien who played for the Spain Under-21s. For many England supporters it would betray the notion of international football and the matter may yet become a decision for the FA main board rather than just Capello.
After England's dismal World Cup however, Capello is prepared to push the boundaries in order to strengthen his squad. In the past, he said of the Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia, another Spaniard who would be eligible to play for England, that it would be down to him to put himself forward. Arteta said he would consider the idea.