Johonson devastated at Scottish no-go

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The Independent Football

David Johnson was tonight devastated at finding he is ineligible to play for Scotland.

David Johnson was tonight devastated at finding he is ineligible to play for Scotland.

The Ipswich striker was expected to be named in the squad for the Euro 2000 qualifiers against England on November 13 and 17.

Instead his international career is in limbo after the Scottish Football Association found out the Jamaican born-player's natural mother is English and that he can only play for England of the home countries.

Scotland manager Craig Brown had understood Johnson could play for him because he held a British passport.

He has already played for England B and Jamaica in friendlies and was in the Wales squad before pledging his allegiance to Scotland last month.

Johnson's agent Phil Graham said: "David is devastated at the news, because he was looking forward so much to playing for Scotland.

"We were never, ever asked by either Wales or Scotland about his parents or grandparents.

"Not one person asked about criteria on that basis. The questions were all about where he was born and whether he had a British passport.

"When that was confirmed it was assumed by everyone concerned that he could play for any of the home countries.

"So to find out in this way is very disappointing for David, and mentally it is a huge blow for him.

"But I have known him for a long time, and he is a strong and determined character. I am sure he will bounce back from this, because he is anxious to become a top striker either with Ipswich or a bigger club.

"Whether he will be looking to play for England in the future or Jamaica it is too early to say. He is just keen to do his best for his club at the moment."

Scotland manager Brown admitted the loss of Johnson was disappointing - but not embarrassing.

"After a meeting with David's manager and his agent and having established his capabilities and the player confirming his willingness to play for Scotland, we have now found out that his natural mother is English," said Brown.

"That means he cannot play for Scotland and in fact can only play for England, not any of the other home countries.

"We all believed we were doing what was right and his agent was apparently told by the FA that he could play for any of the four home countries because he was born in Jamaica and held a British passport.

"However, after an investigation by the Scottish Football Association's international committee we found that a parent or grandparent determines the country the player can play for.

"It's great credit to the international department to find this out, and I don't see it as a bit of an embarrassment.

"I don't think David need apologise. It was a genuine mistake, and I assumed that he fulfilled all the criteria to play for Scotland. It was a bona fide mistake on everyone's part."

The delay in discovering all the facts about Johnson's availability is understood to be because the player is adopted and the SFA needed to obtain details of his natural mother's place of birth, which proved to be in England.

The SFA released the FIFA stipulations which show that the fact Johnson's mother is English rules him out of playing for Scotland.

They released a minute from 1993 saying: "On the occasion of the meeting of the International Football Association Board on February 27 1993 the four British associations ratified the following agreement, which came into force on February 1 1993, on the criteria which should determine the eligibility of the player to be selected for one of the national teams of the British associations:

1 His country of birth.

2 The country of birth of his natural mother or father.

3 The country of birth of his natural grandmother or grandfather.

4 Where the player, both natural parents, and both natural grandparents are born outside the UK, but the player is the holder of a current British passport, he may play for the country of his choice."

Johnson assumed he qualified under the fourth criteria but in fact he qualifies for England under the second.