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Four England players almost had debut international caps deleted due to little-known rule

Four England players almost had debut international caps deleted due to little-known rule

Four players were nearly affected.

Former England defender Phil Jagielka was one of four players who almost had their debut international caps 'deleted' due to a little-known FA rule.

The ex-Everton and Sheffield United star received 40 caps for the Three Lions, and represented them at two major tournaments.

He also captained England for the first time when Roy Hodgson's side took on Lithuania in 2015.

Jagielka was on the England radar during his time at Sheffield United, when he helped the Blades to promotion to the Premier League and became one of the top flight's most consistent defenders.

It was after his move to Everton that the centre-back finally received senior recognition, and he made his debut by playing the second half of a June 2008 friendly against Trinidad and Tobago, which England won 3-0.

He was one of four half-time changes made by then England boss Fabio Capello, with Trinidad and Tobago making three of their own.

The teams had agreed to make wholesale changes at half-time, with several more made throughout the game - but that decision, Jagielka explained, risked running the wrath of the footballing authorities.

Speaking to Ladbrokes Fanzone, he said: "There were rumours that it [the match] was going to be null and void because we'd made too many substitutions.

"They were trying to change the rules around subs because people were complaining that full squads were being changed at half-time.

"Even though we agreed with Trinidad and Tobago that was what we were going to do, by the time we got on the flight home, my cap wasn't going to count."

Luckily for the centre-back, though, the matter did get resolved and his cap was eventually ratified.

He continued: "Then, by the time we got home, it did count, because someone got the paperwork done."

As reported by the Daily Mirror at the time, the centre of the disagreement was that Capello had used seven substitutes in the game, when only six were permitted. Trinidad and Tobago made six - but only had six players on the bench.

Jagielka would not have been the only debutant affected, with Joe Hart, Dean Ashton and Stephen Warnock all receiving their first caps that day.

The FA and Capello argued they had been given permission by FIFA to use a seventh substitute, though a FIFA spokesperson claimed otherwise.

But the disagreement surrounding the ruling, which was introduced in 2003 after England boss Sven Goran Eriksson made 11 substitutions in one game, was eventually resolved and the result remained in the record books.

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: England, Football, Fabio Capello, UEFA, FA, Fan Reactions