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Mikel Arteta out of reach for British switch - Levein

Scotland manager Craig Levein
Levein would like to see the UK eligibility rules changed

LITHUANIA v SCOTLAND - European Championship Qualifier
Venue: Darius Girenas Stadium, Kaunas Date: Friday, 3 September Kick-off: 1915 BST Coverage: BBC ONE Scotland, BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Sport website


Scotland manager Craig Levein does not believe Everton midfielder Mikel Arteta is eligible for his side, or England.

The Spanish former Rangers star qualifies for UK citizenship, having lived in England since 2005, and has said he would consider a call-up.

However, Levein said: "As far as I'm aware, the rules are that he has to be educated (in UK) for five years. The home associations have an agreement."

Levein went on to say that he would like those eligibility rules changed.

"I want the rules for Scotland to be the same as everywhere else in the world," added the former Dundee United boss.

We wrote to every agent in England asking them to let us know if any of their players had Scottish parents or grandparents or were born in Scotland

Craig Levein

"I have no objections if people qualify, I will play them. My job is not to look at where these guys come from, my job is to try to win football matches.

"If anybody is available and I think they will do a job for the team, I will pick them."

A gentleman's agreement among the Home Nations specifies that to qualify for an international call-up you must either have been born in the country, have a parent or grandparent born in the country or have spent five years in education in the country before the age of 18.

In June, the wording of the agreement was altered to "engaged in a minimum of five years' education under the age of 18 within the territory of the relevant association", which allows Scotland to pick Hearts' English-born winger Andrew Driver.

When asked about the possibility of approaching Arteta, 28, Levein said: "I'm sure (Everton manager) David Moyes has given him a good footballing education but I don't think that counts.

Blackpool keeper Matt Gilks training with Scotland
Blackpool keeper Matt Gilks is with Scotland for the first time

"Andrew Driver had to qualify and he stayed in Scotland for 10 years. He is eligible for two countries, England and Scotland, the Scotland one because of his five years of continuous education.

"As far as I'm aware, Mikel Arteta cannot play for England."

For the forthcoming European Championship qualifying double-header against Lithuania and Liechtenstein Levein has handed a first-call up to Blackpool goalkeeper Matt Gilks, who qualifies through a Scottish grandparent

And Levein insists he will continue to cast his net far and wide in the search for players who will improve his squad.

"We wrote to every agent in England asking them to let us know if any of their players had Scottish parents or grandparents or were born in Scotland," he revealed.

"We had some responses, Matt being one of those. Most of the other boys we've had have been younger players. I'm sure there are other players we haven't discovered and we will keep trying.

"In all honesty, I don't think Matt will be involved but I'd like to get him in and let him experience the international arena and train with the guys."



see also
Lithuania 0-0 Scotland
03 Sep 10 |  Scotland
England call-up interests Arteta
21 Aug 10 |  Everton
BBC to screen Scotland away ties
16 Aug 10 |  Scotland
Driver joy at Scots eligibility
09 Jun 10 |  Hearts


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