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England International Awaiting FIFA Clearance To Switch International Allegiance To Sierra Leone

Josh Lawless

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England International Awaiting FIFA Clearance To Switch International Allegiance To Sierra Leone

Featured Image Credit: Image: PA & England

Former Liverpool, Spurs and QPR defender Steven Caulker is awaiting FIFA clearance to switch international allegiance to Sierra Leone.

Caulker, who also played for Cardiff City and Dundee, turned out for England at Under 19 and Under 21 level before making his Three Lions debut and scoring aged 20 in November 2012.

Caulker was one of six debutants a 4-2 friendly defeat to a Zlatan Ibrahimovic-inspired Sweden side, with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Leon Osman, Ryan Shawcross, Carl Jenkinson and Wilfried Zaha all featuring.

Image: PA
Image: PA

Because it was not an official fixture, Caulker is still able to declare for another country and is keen to represent Sierra Leone.

The 29-year-old is eligible to play for West African country through his grandfather on his dad's sid and feels a special connection.

"My granddad was from Sierra Leone - he told me stories when I was younger," Caulker told BBC Sport Africa.

"When I was old enough and had enough money I went to visit myself. I went to places where he grew up, I spent some nights in the villages there and some nights in Kambia, Bo and (the capital) Freetown.

"I feel a connection with the country, so for me to have the opportunity now to represent them at international level is a huge honour.

"I had some time to think about the possibility of playing for Sierra Leone, what it feels like, what it will look like.

"I played for England at the age of 20 but since then I haven't played.

"The chance to come to Sierra Leone and play in the Nations Cup, and get behind the nation in this exciting moment, it became an easy decision to make.

"I am just really happy I made it."

Caulker, now playing for Gaziantep on loan from Fenerbahce in Turkey, has also represented the Great Britain team managed by Stuart Pearce and played every minute at the 2012 Olympic games.

Image: PA
Image: PA

But his heart is firmly with Sierra Leone and he's already played in an unofficial match against local Moroccan players this month.

Should FIFA approve his change soon, Caulker could play for the Leone Stars at the African Cup Of Nations.

John Keister's side are in Group E alongside Algeria, Ivory Coast and Equatorial Guinea for the tournament, which will be held in Cameroon in January.

Topics: England, FIFA

Josh Lawless
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