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Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta: I nearly decided to play for England

Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta reveals he was close to agreeing to play for England at 2010 World Cup before Fifa rules intervened

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mikel arteta
Mikel Arteta joined Arsenal from Everton in the summerPhoto: BohemianFC, via Flickr

mikel arteta

Mikel Arteta has revealed that he was close to opting to play for England at the 2010 World Cup before it emerged he was ineligible under Fifa rules.

Having never represented his native Spain at senior level, the Arsenal midfielder was touted as a potential addition to Fabio Capello’s squad for the tournament in South Africa.

And although the former Everton man admits he was considering the option, it later turned out he was not able to represent England due to not having an English passport when he played for Spain at under-16 level.

“If it was any other country I would have had to say no, but because it was [England] I said I would have to think about it,” Arteta told Arsenal’s website.

“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.”

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