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Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin has not ruled out playing for England if France overlook him
MORGAN Schneiderlin has not ruled out making himself available for England if he continues to be ignored by France.
The 24-year-old thinks he qualifies for England through FIFA’s five-year residency rule, despite playing in UEFA competition for France at U17, U19 and U21 level.
“Some people tell me I am, yes, so I think I am,” he said.
Asked if he would ever make himself available for England, he added: “Never say, never. Don’t give me any time limit, I’ll just see.
“I need to keep focused and finish as high as possible [with Saints] and then we’ll see after the World Cup.”
Schneiderlin has been excellent for Saints in the Premier League but does not think national team manager Didier Deschamps, the former Chelsea and France midfielder, has ever been to see him play.
“Of course it’s frustrating,” he continued. “It’s a dream for everyone to play for his country, for me too. I was picked for [French under-21s] when I was playing in League One which showed they kept an eye on me.
“But they changed everything with the under-21s, people who knew me from under-16, 17 and 18.
“The France manager makes his choice and he has his team. He has a group of 30 players that he trusts and will take and I’m not part of that.
“That’s life. I left France very young and maybe because I played in the second division they lost me a bit and prefer other players who play in France. That’s not up to me, it’s people’s tastes. I just do my best.
“It’s up to me to work hard and if one day he thinks I’m ready to be part of his team he will pick me. But at the moment I’m just trying to focus and do the best that I can.”
“That’s the mentality in France and Portugal,” continued Schneiderlin. “More opportunities are given in England.
“In England if you have two months of playing very well you’re ready and on the list to play for England but that’s not the case in France.
“Even if me and Jose have three good years we’re still not in our national team, but that’s life. Maybe we’re unlucky to come from France and Portugal!”
While his lack of international recognition is a frustration, Schneiderlin does not regret moving to Saints from RC Strasbourg six years ago.
“I’m very happy to have made the decision at 18 to come to England and to Southampton, I’ll never forget what Southampton did for me, they changed me as a player and made me a better player,” said Schneiderlin, whose English is fluent.
“It was difficult to leave my family and friends but I was ready and I grew as a man. It could have gone the other way with everything that happened to the club, administration, but some good people got the club.”
Fittingly, it was Schneiderlin who got the Ralph Krueger era off to the perfect start with his fifth-minute goal against Norwich.
“It was a good goal, we started the game well,” he said. “After the goal we didn’t perform very well and the gaffer wasn’t very happy at half-time. He said we needed more energy and needed to move the ball and keep it better.
“We played at 50 per cent of what we can do but did better in the second half, apart from the last five minutes. We kept the ball and scored some goals.
“We made mistakes, of course we need to be more clever and keep the ball in better areas. But it shows just the strength of teams in this league, they have character and they never give up.”
It was thanks to Saints’ England strikers that the points were secured, before Sam Gallagher, surely another future international, finished Norwich off.
“Jay is amazing and Rickie’s the type of player they don’t have apart from Andy Carroll,” said Schneiderlin. “He’s a finisher, he will score goals and he had a great impact.
“I’m sure Adam is already on the plane and there’s Luke Shaw as well. There are many more to come, look at the right-back position with Calum and Clyney.
“It’s amazing the competition they have, they push each other. There are many more to come in the national team, that’s for sure.”
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