Ten footballers who switched allegiances including Rice, Grealish and Xhaka’s brother ahead of Matty Cash's Poland move

MATTY CASH is set to become the latest player to switch international allegiance after talks with the country of his maternal grandparents, Poland.

The Aston Villa defender's move is emblematic of a significant trend in the game, with the world's population now more global than ever.

Some moves have been controversial as stars gain multiple caps for multiple nations, while other more surprising switches have led to lesser-known players becoming household names in far-flung lands.

Here, SunSport details ten significant changes of allegiance.

Declan Rice

The West Ham midfielder was an integral part of the England side that reached the Euro 2020 final last summer, but had been playing for the Republic of Ireland only three years earlier.

Born in Kingston-upon-Thames, Rice represented the Boys in Green in several youth teams but took time away from the international scene after three caps for the senior side, before officially swapping to England in March 2019.

Jack Grealish

Like Rice, Grealish was born in England but earned his first chance with the Republic thanks to his Irish roots.

However, after winning the Under-21 Player of the Year award in 2015, he turned down a senior call-up and committed to the Three Lions.

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Wilfried Zaha

Crystal Palace star Zaha rebuffed England's approach to keep him in the Three Lions' fold after several seasons out of the squad to link up with the Ivory Coast in 2017.

Having broken out at Selhurst Park and moved to Manchester United, the winger earned two England caps but was persuaded to commit to the country of his birth to try and lead the team back to the World Cup.

Michail Antonio

Although England are not short of striking options, it was exactly as Antonio found the form of his life that he declared for Jamaica.

Both Sam Allardyce and Gareth Southgate called up the striker but he did not make an appearance, before joining other English-born Jamaicans Liam Moore, Kemar Roofe, Ravel Morrison and more in signing up to the Reggae Boyz cause earlier this year.

Taulant Xhaka

After Ragip Xhaka moved his young family from Yugoslavia to Switzerland having served time as a political prisoner, his two sons discovered their ability on the football field.

But Granit and Taulant took different routes in picking the country they wanted to represent, with the older brother opting for the nation of their heritage, Albania, while Arsenal star Granit chose to play for the Swiss.

Jamal Musiala

In perhaps the most recent example of an international tug-of-war, 18-year-old winger Musiala agreed to play for Germany over England.

The Bayern Munich winger starred for the Three Lions' Under-21 team only last year but was fast-tracked by the country of his birth to earn a call-up to Germany's Euro 2020 squad.

Ben Brereton

Some players field accusations of picking the 'easy' option or of shunning the smaller nations when they change their allegiance.

But it is hard to argue with the decision of Ben Brereton Diaz, as he is known when playing for Chile, to leave his distant England hopes to represent the South Americans – for whom he became an overnight fan favourite.

Diego Costa

It is hard to say what might have become of Diego Costa the Brazilian, had he not switched to Spain in 2013.

The then-world champions subsequently flopped with the striker leading the line while getting booed at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and he failed to deliver a major trophy for his adopted nation.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

France are hardly struggling for attackers having taken Karim Benzema, Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and more to the last Euros.

But Aubameyang did make an appearance for Les Bleus' Under-21 team and was also eligible for Spain before committing to Gabon.

Karamoko Dembele

Countries around the world are constantly tracking the next generation to help build their squad, and several sagas are still ongoing.

One example is Celtic star Dembele, 18, who has played for Scotland's U16 and U17 squads, as well as England's U15, U17 and U18s – with the Three Lions currently boasting the up-and-coming winger.


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