Early Doors

‘I’m so sorry boss, I’m English’ – Wayne Rooney could have turned out for Scotland

Early Doors

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Rooney and Vogts, each pictured in 2004 (PA)

Berti Vogts has revealed that he once tried to convince Wayne Rooney to represent Scotland internationally.

With the multi-national eligibility of in-form youngster Adnan Januzaj of Manchester United and the subsequent opinions of the likes of Jack Wilshere on the matter a hot topic at present, the former Scotland boss admits he tried to court a then-teenage Rooney due to a family tie North of the border.

"I spoke to Wayne Rooney - his grandmother, she is Scottish," said Vogts, speaking in Baku ahead of his Azerbaijan side's World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland.

"The Scottish Football Association 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'."

Explaining Rooney's reaction, the German coach beat his chest theatrically and said: "(Rooney told me) 'I am English, I am English!'. Okay, sorry.

"You have to speak to the player but he told me 'I'm so sorry boss, I'm English'."

Vogts was in charge of Scotland between 2002 and 2004, and also weighed in on the international representation debate, saying he doesn’t understand all the fuss.

"It's a FIFA rule. We have to accept it. It is not only in Great Britain but also here in Azerbaijan," he said.

Arsenal midfielder Wilshere certainly empathises more with his England team-mate than with Vogts, having claimed that it should take more than just being eligible for a nation to be able to play for their sporting squad.

“If you live in England for five years, it doesn’t make you English," Wilshere argued. "You shouldn’t play."

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