De Bruyne, Iwobi & players who snubbed England

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The Man City and Arsenal stars snubbed the Three Lions for Belgium, following in the footsteps of some other big names who bypassed the nation

Dele Alli was the recipient of a host of boos and whistles when England played an international friendly against Nigeria on June 2 as part of their preparations for this summer's World Cup finals in Russia.

But fans didn't boo Alli due to his on-pitch behaviour – he was booed by Nigeria fans for opting to represent England instead of the Super Eagles, who made their disappointment towards him clear. What's more is that the Tottenham forward played against Alex Iwobi, who went the opposite path and chose to represent Nigeria even though he was eligible to play for the Three Lions.

So who else had the opportunity to play for England, but ultimately snubbed them for another country? Goal takes a closer look.

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    Kevin De Bruyne | Belgium

    Chelsea aren't the only team to regret the loss of one of the Premier League's best players. Kevin De Bruyne was eligible to play for England due to his mother, but opted instead to play for Belgium. Had he selected to feature for the Three Lions, he would be their standout midfielder – and player – by a country mile.
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    Alex Iwobi | Nigeria

    The promising Arsenal forward is one the bigger losses England will rue heading into the World Cup this summer, after starting as a youth player for the Three Lions. He, however, chose to represent Nigeria instead - taking the opposite route to Dele Alli - and scored his side's solitary goal in the friendly against England.
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    Victor Moses | Nigeria

    Moses played for both England's U19 and U21 teams after arriving in the country as a child asylum seeker. He then, however, opted to represent Nigeria, where he was born. Despite his recent success at Chelsea, Moses may not have been regular starter for the Three Lions – though he was an important member of the Super Eagles squad in qualifying, scoring three goals in four starts. 

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    Gareth Bale | Wales

    The Real Madrid forward was eligible to play for England through his grandmother, but has stated: "It is an honour to play for Wales...Nobody ever got in touch with me personally from England, only through my agent." In March 2018, with 29 goals, Bale became Wales' all-time top-scorer, surpassing Ian Rush's 28 goals following a hat-trick against China.

     

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    Ben Woodburn | Wales

    The young Liverpool prospect, often dubbed "the next Steven Gerrard", turned down the chance to play for the England U16 team and has featured consistently for the Wales national team ever since. However, he was unlucky to not see his side qualify for this summer's World Cup finals in Russia.
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    Wilfried Zaha | Ivory Coast

    Zaha emerged as Crystal Palace's best player this season, scoring nine club goals, and was instrumental in preventing them from being relegated following Roy Hodgson's arrival. He's another one who got away for England as he made two appearances for the Three Lions' senior side in friendlies from 2011-12. He then stated his desire to switch allegiances and play for the Ivory Coast, the country he was born in.
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    Lewis Holtby | Germany

    Holtby, who played for Tottenham from 2013-15, is the son of a former British soldier who was stationed in Monchengladbach. He decided to play for Germany, however, captaining their U21 side and earning three senior caps.
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    Manuel Almunia | Spain (uncapped)

    The former Arsenal goalkeeper was never capped for his home country of Spain – unable to dethrone the likes of Iker Casillas, Victor Valdes and Pepe Reina – and inquired about representing England through obtaining a British passport. Fabio Capello, however, favoured Joe Hart instead.
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    Wes Morgan | Jamaica

    The Nottingham-born defender never represented the Three Lions at youth level and made his first senior appearance for Jamaica in 2013, with whom he has since earned 30 senior caps.
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    Ashley Williams | Wales

    Williams was born in Wolverhampton but qualifies for the Welsh team through his maternal grandfather Bill Rowlands from Gelli in Rhondda. He was appointed captain of his national side by then manager Chris Coleman in 2012, replacing Aaron Ramsey.
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    Ryan Giggs | Wales

    Despite popular belief, the former Manchester United man was never eligible to play for England before he was capped – having been born in Wales to Welsh parents – despite captaining the England Schoolboys. New rules drawn up in 2009, however, stated that he would have been able to play for England had he not already played for Wales on a competitive level.
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    Ola Aina | Nigeria

    After representing England at youth level, the Chelsea right back (currently on loan to Hull City) decided to switch allegiances and represent Nigeria at the senior level. He has earned five caps and a spot in the preliminary squad to travel to the World Cup, and joins a handful of other players who snubbed England to play for the Super Eagles.
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    Simone Perrotta | Italy

    The World Cup winner was able to play for England but chose Italy instead, first at U21 level at the 2000 U21 Football Championship. He made 48 appearances for Italy, scoring two goals in total and retired from international duty in 2009.

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    Harry Kewell | Australia

    Harry Kewell's father is of English heritage, which allowed him to accept a trial at Leeds United with an Australian passport. He, however, remained with the Socceroos for 16 years, earning 56 caps and scoring 17 total goals.

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    Chuba Akpom | Nigeria

    Akpom is another youngster who represented England at all youth levels before preferring to represent Nigeria. He is set to follow in the footsteps of fellow youngster Ola Aina and switch allegiances to Nigeria, as he has not featured for the Three Lions since 2016.