The 2018 World Cup will see several footballers representing countries they weren’t born in. Gonzalo Higuain plays for Argentina despite being born in France, Brazilian-born Mario Fernandes will be representing hosts Russia and Xherdan Shaqiri plays for Switzerland after being born in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
England are no different, having had a number of players represent the national team over the despite being born elsewhere.
This year’s squad includes one player born outside of England – Raheem Sterling. Gareth Southgate’s side cannot be found among the favourites in the 2018 World Cup. His young side are generally not considered capable of getting past the quarter-finals!
Only six players have been involved in at least one World Cup though. They are as follows:
Terry Butcher (Singapore)
Born in Singapore, Terry Butcher spent most of his childhood in Lowestoft, Suffolk and subsequently joined Ipswich Town as a youngster.
The no-nonsense centre-back became popular among England supporters during his 77 caps for the Three Lions which including playing at the 1982, 1986 and 1990 World Cups.
At club level Terry Butcher won the 1981 UEFA Cup with Ipswich Town and three top flight titles in Scotland with Glasgow Rangers.
John Barnes (Jamaica)
Born in Jamaica to Trinidadian and Jamaican parents, John Barnes moved to London when he was only 12 years old. In 1981 he came through the Watford youth system and in 1983 he made his debut for the England national team under Sir Bobby Robson.
Barnes’ trickery down the left wing saw he become a mainstay in the national team until 1995 and earned him a transfer to Liverpool in 1987. He played at the 1986 and 1990 World Cups.
He was an English top flight winner twice with the Reds as well as winning the 1989 FA Cup.
Tony Dorigo (Australia)
Australian-born Tony Dorigo joined Aston Villa as a teenager before becoming a regular left-back for the West Midlands club. His club manager at the time, Tony Barton, refused to let him play for Australia due to the distance.
Dorigo got a transfer to Chelsea in 1987 and after being granted British citizenship he became an England international in 1989, representing the national team at the World Cup in Italy the following year.
Dorigo himself jokes about playing for England when he looks back on it:
“England came along and asked me to play for them if I hung around for another year and got my British citizenship.
“My father was Italian and my mother was Australian, so I have no English parentage at all. What I say to my English friends today is that ‘you lot were so bad you needed an Aussie to come and play for you!’ It was very different back then to what it is now – the players in the Premier League today fly all over the world to play for their countries. They just did not allow that to happen in my day.”
Tony Dorigo was named in the 1992-93 Premier League Team of the Season whilst at Leeds United.
Graeme Le Saux (Jersey)
Graeme Le Saux started his career on the island of Jersey where he was born, before moving to Chelsea in his late teens.
The left-back represented England 36 times, including at the 1998 World Cup.
Technically, Le Saux didn’t transfer country as Jersey doesn’t have an internationally recognised national team; the Jersey Football Association is affiliated to The English Football Association.
Owen Hargreaves (Canada)
Born in Canada, Owen Hargreaves had the choice of his country of birth, England, Germany or Wales to play senior international football for. Despite coming through the Bayern Munich youth system and playing for the German club at the time, Hargreaves chose to play for England in 2001.
The versatile midfielder represented England in both the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.
Owen Hargreaves had a successful career at club level, winning the 2001 Champions League with Bayern Munich and again in 2008, with Manchester United. He was a four-time Bundesliga winner and won the Premier League in 2007-08. Injuries cut his career short.
Raheem Sterling (Jamaica)
Born in Jamaica, Raheem Sterling moved to London when he was just five years old and was picked up by Queens Park Rangers as a youngster. The pacey forward never had an opportunity to make his debut for the Rs as he was snapped up by Liverpool when he was only 15.
Despite reported pressure from his mother to play for his country of birth, Sterling played for England at the 2014 World Cup and is in Gareth Southgate’s squad for this summer’s tournament too, where he is expected to be a starter.
After shining for Liverpool he moved to Manchester City in 2015 where he can now call himself a Premier League winner. However, his two goals in 36 caps for the England national team means you won’t find Raheem Sterling among the Golden Boot tips on the Fifa World Cup.