Wayne Rooney turned down the chance to play for Scotland
Nationality debate takes a twist with revelation that Scots wanted Rooney because of his grandmother
A CHEST-THUMPING Wayne Rooney turned down the chance to play for Scotland when he was a teenager, former Scottish manager Berti Vogts has revealed.
The veteran boss, who is now in charge of Azerbaijan, claimed he contacted Rooney after discovering that he had a Scottish grandmother, only to be rebuffed.
Talking ahead of his current side's World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland, Vogts said: "The Scottish FA found the grandmother and I made the call. I flew from Glasgow to Everton. He was playing under David Moyes at Everton and I spoke to him – a young lad of 16 years of age. I said to him 'you can play for Scotland'."
The reaction was not the one he had hoped for, though. The BBC reports that Vogts "theatrically" beat his chest as he acted out Rooney's reply, which involved the young striker telling him in no uncertain terms that he was English.
"You have to speak to the player, but he told me 'I'm sorry boss, I'm English'," said Vogts.
Vogts made the claim after being asked about the current debate over nationality, sparked by the emergence of Adnan Januzaj at Manchester United. The Belgian-born teen with Kosovan-Albanian heritage has yet to align himself to a country, and could one day qualify for England.
The FA has made it clear that it would be happy for Januzaj to wear the Three Lions, but not everyone agrees. Arsenal star Jack Wilshere has been vocal in his opposition to the idea of picking players who qualify by residency, insisting that living in England for five years "doesn't make you English".
Wilshere was later drawn into a row over international eligibility on Twitter with England cricketer Kevin Pietersen. He, like several other members of the England cricket and rugby teams, was born overseas, but qualified as English because it was the country of his mother's birth. ·