WTTGT Writer: Guest blogger
In an interesting interview to Arsenal.com, Mikel Arteta has revealed that he did think of representing England before FIFA rules squashed any hopes of him playing for the Three Lions.
Talking to the club’s official website, Arteta also revealed his love for England and the people of the country.
“If it was any other country I would have had to say no, but because it was that one I said I would have to think about it,” he told Arsenal.com.
“England has been really good to me professionally and personally. In the end I didn’t have to make a decision because I wasn’t allowed to play because of FIFA rules.
“At least it was nice to know that Fabio Capello and his staff were thinking about bringing me into the national team.
“I feel English in some ways because I have spent the biggest part of my career here. Obviously I know how English people think, what they do, the culture – I know everything.
“I have to adapt to that so I am living life like an English person. It’s funny, I look at my child and hear her talk English, it’s amazing.”
Though Arteta playing for England was rarely a possibility, the fact that Fabio Capello considered bringing him into England setup speaks volumes about his talent. Arguably the question arises, will Arteta make it into the starting XI for England?
It’s tough question to answer. Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard are brilliant midfielders and England would surely be a stronger outfit if not for the lack of a solid partnership between these two veterans. This has led to Gerrard even playing as a winger with Barry regularly partnering Lampard in the centre. Also with youngsters like Wilshire and Jones and the impressive Scott Parker being introduced, there is very little chance of seeing both these stars start again in midfield together.
With the 4-3-3 now being the standard formation employed by Capello, Arteta in midfield would certainly have given the Three Lions some much needed quality. Parker and Gerrard would be automatic choices for the holding and playmaking roles respectively. While Barry or Wilshire would certainly fit into the other midfield spot, I personally don’t think either of these two can be as productive as Arteta.
Wilshire has great vision and can split defences with a single pass while Barry is a brilliant passer who will never leave his defence exposed. But Arteta would have been able to bring both those qualities to the English team. He is composed on the ball and has the ability to dictate play from a deep midfield role. This will bring the best out of Gerrard who is phenomenal when playing behind the striker in the ‘hole.’ Arteta is also a willing worker and would form a defensively solid yet creative partnership with someone like Scott Parker.
Views differ and I know that several England fans consider Barry as a vital component of their team’s functioning. There are also Arsenal and Chelsea fans who feel that Wilshire and Lampard are just too good to be ignored.
One way or the other, England certainly could have done with Mikel at the 2010 World Cup. There got to be a few England fans at the moment who would be cursing FIFA and their bloody rules!
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