How does Paul Mullin qualify for Wales? Wrexham striker's international eligibility explained

Paul Mullin Wrexham 2022-23Getty

Paul Mullin has been the talisman for Wrexham United since he joined the National League side in the summer of 2021 after a record-breaking season for Cambridge United.

In his very first campaign, he scored 28 goals in 39 appearances and this season, he has taken his performances a notch higher, bagging more than 40 goals for the Dragons across all competitions.

According to The Athletic, Wales boss Rob Page even considered Mullin for a national team call-up before settling with the likes of Millwall’s Tom Bradshaw and Ipswich frontman Nathan Broadhead for the upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against Croatia and Latvia, respectively.

But how does the Liverpool-born striker qualify to play for Wales? GOAL takes a look.

How does Paul Mullin qualify to play for Wales?

Mullin was born in Litherland in Merseyside in 1994 and has been an Everton fan since his childhood.

He was nurtured at the academies of both Everton and Liverpool before he moved to Huddersfield Town.

However, right from the beginning of his professional career, he had a "dream" to play for the Wales national football team. And despite not being a natural citizen of Wales, he is eligible to play for them through his grandmother.

"My dad's mum was born in Wales. Towards the end of last season (2020-21), they asked to register me as Welsh on the system," Mullin told Radio Wales Sport.

"I just want to play football and enjoy it. Obviously, it's a dream to go and play international football, but not for a moment do I think it's going to happen. But you never know, you work hard and do the best you can and see what happens."

In fact, Mullin himself confirmed that he has already been registered with the Wales national team in a reply to a tweet.

His dream can turn into reality in the future if he keeps banging in the goals. He is a League Two Golden Boot winner after for his heroics with Cambridge United, where he scored 32 goals in 46 games in the 2020-21 season.

With Wrexham he has been unstoppable, and even Page has travelled to watch him in action this season. The tactician has no reservations regarding his age or the level he currently finds himself playing at.

It is believed that an extended training camp will be held for Welsh players plying their trade outside of the Premier League in May and Mullin will likely form part of those plans.

The National League Player of the Season (2021-22) could well become the next non-league player to be selected by Wales, after former Wrexham defender Steve Evans in 2008, if he keeps up with his rich vein of form.

Which other international teams can Paul Mullin play for?

Since Mullin was born in England, he is eligible to play for the Three Lions as well.

However, given the competition for places in Gareth Southgate's side, it is unlikely that he is going to get a call from the English manager anytime soon.

Paul Mullin Wrexham FA CupGetty Images

What are the FIFA eligibility rules?

In 2020, FIFA, during its 70th annual congress, announced that the international eligibility rules had been updated, which they described as the "first wholesale modernisation" of the regulations.

Article 9 of FIFA's Regulations Governing the Application of the Statutes deals with changing associations. The rule allows an individual to change their international team allegiance as many players hold multiple-nationality and the attachment to a definite country cannot be determined.

In March 2021, FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, speaking at the FIFA Football Law Annual Review, explained: "We have amended the eligibility rules for national teams because it is important in a globalised world where players maybe have two or three different nationalities that they are given the opportunity to choose their country or to change - if certain strict conditions are met. We needed to address situations of particular hardship and that is what made us go in that direction."

However, nationality continues to be the key, as article 5.1 states: "Any person holding a permanent nationality that is not dependent on residence in a certain country is eligible to play for the representative teams of the association of that country."

Sometimes, a nationality allows a player to play for more than one FIFA member association, and article 6 lays down the framework for that.

For example, 11 national teams (including the four 'Home Nations') require a player to possess British nationality in order to be eligible, but Article 6 states that they must also meet at least one of the following requirements:

  1. The player was born on the territory of the association.
  2. The player's biological mother or father was born on the territory of the association.
  3. The player's grandmother or grandfather was born on the territory of the association.
  4. The player has lived on the territory of the association for at least five years.

There have been several footballers in the past who have gone on to change their allegiance to another country despite having represented a different nation at senior level.

Declan Rice, in 2019, switched allegiance from the Republic of Ireland to England despite appearing in three friendly games for the senior Irish team.

Other prominent examples include Diego Costa (Brazil to Spain), Kevin-Prince Boateng (Germany to Ghana) and Wilfried Zaha (England to Ivory Coast). Whereas if we travel back a bit more in history then we find Alfredo Di Stefano represented Argentina, Colombia and Spain, while Ferenc Puskas played for both Hungary and Spain.

But there are a few nationalities which allow an individual to represent more than one international team. The list is as follows:

NationalityFIFA member teams
AmericanUSMNT, Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands
BritishEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Turks and Caicos Islands, Montserrat
ChineseChina PR, Hong Kong, Macau
DanishDenmark, Faroe Islands
DutchNetherlands, Aruba, Curacao
FrenchFrance, Tahiti, New Caledonia
New ZealandNew Zealand, Cook Islands