Arsene Wenger has backed up Jack Wilshere’s comments in the row over English qualified players after the Arsenal midfielder became embroiled in a row with England cricketer Kevin Pietersen.
Wilshere had previously written on his official Twitter account: "the question was should foreign players be allowed to play for England, in my opinion I don't think they should."
This provoked an angry response from the batsman, who felt that he and fellow England cricketers Andrew Strauss, Jonathan Trott and Matt Prior, along with US Open champion Justin Rose, Tour de France winner Chris Froome and two-time Olympic Gold medallist Mo Farah had a right to represent England in their chosen sport.
"Interested to know how you define foreigner Would that include me, Strauss, Trott, Prior, Justin Rose, Froome, Mo Farah?"Pietersen wrote.
Wilshere went on to claim that he was talking about football and not other sports as they were “not his field” before another Pietersen response claimed it was the “same difference” and it’s about representing your country in any sport.
But Wenger has supported Wilshere and echoed his views that qualifying on residency grounds does not mean you become English.
"If you live in England for five years it doesn't make you English,” Wenger, who has lived in England since becoming Arsenal manager back in 1996, told BBC Sport.
"I agree with him (Wilshere). I always said also an Englishman should manage the England team." Wenger has maintained this view having seen Swede Sven-Goran Eriksson and Italian Fabio Capello take charge of the Three Lions during his time in England.
"I personally believe what we have really to define is what is an English player and we get that more and more," Wenger continued.
"I have young players now with three different nationalities and I ask them how do you feel? You have some, for example, who were born in Africa, they have come to Europe, they have lived for a few years in one country and, after, their parents have moved to another country because they had to find work - and they have three different cultures.
"One of the tasks of the modern politicians will be really to define what is the nationality of a person, because some people feel differently to their passport.
"Have they the freedom of choice or do they have to be educated in a country to feel they love this country? Have you to spend a certain number of years in the country to say you represent this country?”
The furore has arose over the situation regarding Manchester United winger Adnan Januzaj, who hit the headlines for the right reasons with his match-winning double against Sunderland last week on his first start for the club.
Since then though, he has been at the centre of a nationality dispute, with the 18-year-old eligible for his homeland Belgium, both Albania and Kosovo through his parents, and also Turkey and Serbia. Should he remain in England – another issue is that his current contract runs out in the summer and he could decide to leave United on a free transfer – he could qualify for England on residential grounds in either 2016 or 2018, dependent on the differing regulations on the matter.
"I feel, as well, in Januzaj's example do you just come six months and play for a country?” asked Wenger. “It's not realistic. Maybe if he stays a few years and he decides that he wants to play for England then...
"But he has not chosen yet which country he wants to play for."
Wenger was speaking at a the Four Four Jew exhibition at the Jewish Museum in London, which delves into the untold story on the relationship between Jews and football.Reuse content