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Page last updated at 07:35 GMT, Tuesday, 13 October 2009 08:35 UK

Shawcross now eligible for Wales

By Peter Shuttleworth

Ryan Shawcross
Shawcross served his football apprenticeship at Manchester United

Stoke City defender Ryan Shawcross and St Mirren midfielder Andy Dorman are now available to play for Wales thanks to a change in the eligibility rules.

Fifa's executive committee has ratified a proposal from the home nations to change the criteria of which country British players can represent.

Players with five years of compulsory education in the specified country are now eligible to represent that nation.

The Scottish FA's plan was endorsed by the Football Association of Wales.

The new Fifa rule would have meant England striker Michael Owen could have chosen to represent Wales while former Wales captain Ryan Giggs could have played for England.

Manchester United star Owen was raised and educated in Hawarden in north Wales but could not represent Wales as he was born to English parents in Chester, the nearest maternity hospital.

Equally, if the new rule had previously been implemented his United team-mate Giggs could have opted to play for England.

The Cardiff-born winger has lived in the Manchester area since the age of six and even captained England's schoolboys at Wembley - but he was ineligible to represent England's senior teams.

However, Giggs has repeatedly insisted that he would never have chosen to represent England, even if he had been eligible.

Highly-rated Stoke centre-back Shawcross, a reported £9m transfer target for Liverpool, is now set to be asked if he would consider representing Wales at senior level.

The former Manchester United trainee and Welsh schoolboys international was raised in Buckley in Flintshire but was born in Chester.

However, Shawcross has won two caps for England Under-21s and Stoke's Welsh boss Tony Pulis has even tipped the 22-year-old as a future full England international.

But while Wales do not have strength in depth at the back, England do boast an embarrassment of defensive riches.

Andy Dorman
I lived in Wales for 18 years and went to school there, so I would love to have the opportunity to represent them

St Mirren midfielder Andy Dorman

Behind first-choice centre-back pairing John Terry and Rio Ferdinand, boss Fabio Capello can choose from Matthew Upson, Joleon Lescott, Phil Jagielka, Gary Cahill and, when fit, Tottenham Hotspur duo Jonathan Woodgate and Ledley King.

Dorman, meanwhile, has previously stated his desire to play for Wales and would be a useful addition to a squad that is currently suffering a midfield injury crisis.

The 27-year-old Chester-born defender has no Welsh family background but grew up in north Wales and wants to play for the country where he spent all of his childhood.

"I'm sure it is certainly something that John Toshack will look into," said Wales youth coach Brian Flynn.

Wales boss Toshack is without midfielders Simon Davies, Jack Collison, Joe Ledley and Brian Stock for their final World Cup qualifier in Liechtenstein on Wednesday.

He has been hampered by the recent retirements of midfield quartet Jason Koumas, Carl Fletcher, Carl Robinson and Paul Parry - so Dorman may be a useful reinforcement.

The new legislation adds to the current eligibility criteria that players can represent a country if he, a parent or grandparent was born there.

The new rule was initiated by the Scottish FA and means that if a player has spent five years or more of compulsory education there before the age of 16, they can represent that country.

Flynn had backed the plan from the outset, explaining: "People who grew up in Wales often can't represent the country they've lived in most of their life because their nearest maternity hospital is in England.

606: DEBATE
Bostonyanke

"That is the case in parts of mid and north Wales near the borders where the local hospitals are in Chester and Shrewsbury.

"So they could have been brought up, been educated and spent all of their life in Wales and consider it to be their country but they are only, in fact, eligible to represent England at senior level."

The four "Home Nations" are in a unique position as, while players play for different countries, they all have the same passports as United Kingdom nationals.

However, the four nations have a stricter eligibility criteria than Fifa actually demands as other international teams can call up a "foreign" player once he is naturalised after two years in that country.



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see also
Smith happy with Driver approach
12 Oct 09 |  Internationals
Reid tips Shawcross for England
09 Oct 09 |  Stoke
Shawcross in Stoke contract talks
07 Oct 09 |  Stoke
Welsh FA backing eligibility plan
02 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Where the Premier League's players come from
17 Aug 09 |  Premier League
Dorman reveals his Wales dreams
18 Mar 09 |  St Mirren
Owen honoured by Welsh university
30 Oct 08 |  Newcastle
Giggs ends international career
30 May 07 |  Internationals
Giggs dismisses England link
15 Oct 02 |  Wales
Giggs denies England rumour
01 May 01 |  45 Minutes


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