Eyeing a switchover

Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin could change his allegiance and he appears to have opened the door to a possible future England call-up as France continue to overlook him.

Very few players remain at one club throughout their career and transfers are a common part of football. Changing your club is one thing, but changing your nationality is quite different and is a switch which is much more unusual.

It is an option for some players though and, just as some decide to move clubs in a bid to secure more regular first-team action, the chance to get a taste of the international scene can make country-switching an attractive prospect.

Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin is one player who could change his allegiance and he appears to have opened the door to a possible future England call-up as France continue to overlook him.

The 24-year-old is one of a handful of players who stuck with Saints through administration and relegation to League One, which came just a year after his 2008 arrival from Strasbourg.

Schneiderlin has grown with the club and has become one of the most impressive defensive midfielders in the Premier League, yet that has not been enough to gain international recognition. The Alsace-born midfielder represented France at youth levels up to the under-21s, but has continually been overlooked by the senior team.

“That's life,” Schneiderlin said. “I left France very young and maybe because I played in the second division they lost me a bit and prefer other players who play in France. That’s not up to me, it's people’s tastes. I just do my best.”

Schneiderlin still dreams of representing Les Bleus and pledged to continue impressing at Southampton in a bid to prove his worth.

However, with opportunities restricted, he could explore representing England by virtue of the residency ruling. Schneiderlin would be eligible to change nationality as he has not played a competitive match for the senior side, although such a move would also require a change in Football Association policy.

Asked if he would ever consider such a move, he said: “Never say never. Some people tell me I am (eligible), yes, so I think I am. Don’t give me any time limit, I’ll just see. Of course it’s frustrating but I just need to keep focused and finish as high as possible and then we’ll see after the World Cup.”

Southampton defender Jose Fonte has been in England even longer than Schneiderlin and is another that in theory would be eligible for England due to residency rules, having been regularly overlooked by Portugal. The lack of recognition seems particularly harsh on the duo given the way Southampton’s English players have been embraced by their national set-up, with Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Jay Rodriguez and Luke Shaw all vying for a World Cup berth.

“That’s the mentality in France and Portugal,” Schneiderlin said. “More opportunities are given in England. In England if you have two months of playing very well you’re ready and on the list to play for England but that’s not the case in France. Even if me and Jose have three good years we’re still not in our national team, but that’s life. We just need to carry on, maybe we’re unlucky to come from France and Portugal.”

If England flop at the upcoming World Cup in Brazil and decide the squad needs an overhaul, they may cast the net further than ever before.

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