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Page last updated at 17:19 GMT, Friday, 15 May 2009 18:19 UK

Driver set for England U21 call

By Chris McLaughlin & Clive Lindsay

Hearts winger Andrew Driver
Driver has previously expressed his desire to play for Scotland

England are poised to beat Scotland to the services of 21-year-old Hearts winger Andrew Driver.

Driver has been told that he is in the provisional squad for England's Under-21 international against Azerbaijan on 8 June.

He is ineligible to play for Scotland as he was born in Oldham and only moved across the border when he was 11.

The Scots FA has proposed a change in eligibility rules to include those with five years schooling in the country.

Their English equivalents have now joined the Northern Irish and Welsh in indicating they are happy with the alteration.

But that proposal has yet to go before world governing body Fifa's International Board for approval.

And England Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce, who has watched Driver on several occasions, appears to have acted to secure the player's services before any change can be agreed or implemented.

He might just want to wait until the rules change if he feels Scottish, which I believe he does

Scottish FA chief executive Gordon Smith

Pearce is likely to announce his final squad at the end of May and SFA chief executive Gordon Smith, who has championed the rule change, recognises that the English have the right to name the Hearts winger in their squad.

"I would be disappointed if Andrew Driver was to choose England, but they are within their rights to include him," said Smith, who hopes that the new regulations could be in place by the start of next season.

"But he might just want to wait until the rules change if he feels Scottish, which I believe he does."

Driver came through the youth system at Hearts and scored for Scotland Schoolboys against England.

But he does not qualify under present rules that stretch to blood ties with grandparents and has expressed his frustration at not being able to play for Scotland.

"This is the kind of situation that the new rules would cover, where someone feels an affinity to a country having been brought up there," added Smith.



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see also
Coventry poised for Driver offer
06 May 09 |  Hearts
Scots seek change on eligibility
01 Mar 09 |  Internationals
Awardee Driver misses Scots caps
14 Oct 07 |  Hearts


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