Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Kitson not Irish

I caught an interview with Reading's Dave Kitson from the weekend's Soccer AM. It seems that he has turned down the chance to play for Ireland on principle.

"I only qualify for Ireland through my Grandfather who I never met. I've never felt Irish, and I spent the Summer watching England in the pub wearing a shirt with Gerrard on the back. I know that I'm not good enough for England but that's not the point.

I've always felt English, and it wouldn't be right to play for Ireland. I realise that my stock would go up if I was an international player, I coulod command better wages and get better deals. But for me it's about the football, not about the money."

Fair play to the bloke. It's not so often these days that a footballer is so principled. I've always been dubious about the rules for qualification, though thankfully football hasn't gone down the absurd residency rule that rugby has used to cheapen the international shirt.

So fair play to Kitson. Not for him the Owen Hargreaves route of touting around for the best team. Hargreaves was born in Canada, developed by the Welsh FA and switched to England after committing himself to his Mother's country as a youth player. Objectively, you would say that Hargeaves made the right decision. He's played in a World Cup, and seems set to become an England regular. But I'd rather go for a pint with Dave Kitson. And that's what really counts.

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