Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Double Olympic and world distance-running champion Mo Farah hit back
on Tuesday at Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere’s comment that only
English people should play football for England.
The 5,000m and
10,000m champion, who was born in Somalia, told ITV’s The Agenda
programme that he was "very proud" to run for England and Britain,
having arrived in the country as a schoolboy.
Farah moved to
Hounslow, west London, when he was eight, as Somalia was struck by civil
war, and is a longstanding fan of north London football club Arsenal.
where I grew up, it’s where I went to school," Farah said. "I don’t
know nothing but England. This is it. And when I run for my country I’m
very proud, and as long as you do that and make your country proud,
that’s what really matters."
Rising Manchester United star Adnan
Januzaj could play for England from 2018 under the five-year residency
rule of football world governing body Fifa. He is eligible for Belgium,
Serbia, Albania and Turkey, but has yet to declare where his allegiance
Earlier in October Arsenal and England midfielder Wilshere
said: "If you live in England for five years it doesn’t make you
English. We have to remember what we are. We are English. We tackle
hard, are tough on the pitch and are hard to beat.
ENGLISH AND PROUD: British Olympian Mo Farah, born in
Somalia, rejects Jack Wilshere’s ‘English only’ call. Picture: DANNY |
"We have great
characters. You think of Spain and you think technical but you think of
England and you think they are brave and they tackle hard. We have to
remember that. The only people who should play for England are English
people. If I went to Spain and lived there for five years, I’m not going
to play for Spain."
Wilshere has since insisted that he was not referring specifically to Januzaj.
remarks sparked a Twitter exchange between himself and Kevin Pietersen,
the South African-born batsman who is set to play his 100th Test for
England in November’s Ashes opener against Australia.
pointing to his own case and that of several other South African-born
England cricketers, as well as Farah, said: "Jack Wilshere — interested
to know how you define foreigner...? Would that include me, (Andrew)
Strauss (the former England cricket captain), (Jonathan) Trott (England
batsman), (Matt) Prior (England wicketkeeper), Justin Rose (South
African-born golfer), (Chris) Froome (Kenya-born Tour de France
champion), Mo Farah?"
Wilshere clarified his remarks by saying:
"To be clear, I never said ‘born in England’ — I said English people
should play for England. Great respect for people like KP (Pietersen)
and Mo Farah ... — they make the country proud."