We live in a time where it seems increasingly common that players are eligible to play for more than one country. It can be a tough decision for a youngster to make, should they pick the country of their birth or would it make more sense to play for someone else?
Gabriel Martinelli was signed by Arsenal this Summer but it didn’t really look like he would play a big part for the first team straight away. He’s really impressed in the Europa League and Carabao Cup, which has garnered some attention on the international stage.
According to a report from Goal.com, the youngster is also eligible to represent Italy as well as the country of his birth – Brazil. They go on to suggest that Italy have made formal moves to try and have the youngster change his allegiance to Italy, but it’s not clear which way the player wants to go just now.
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It seemed that the Italy manager Roberto Mancini acknowledged the attempt to get Martinelli on board, but it didn’t sound like a quick process. He said: “As for Martinelli, it’s not so easy to apply to play for Italy.We need to wait for players with two passports. In the meantime, we’ll continue to exchange [Ciro] Immobile with [Andrea] Belotti.”
It’s hard to say if he’s actually ready to play a starting role for either country just now, but it could be an attempt to lock him down in case he does go on to become a very good player. Once he plays in a full competitive international fixture he won’t be allowed to change his allegiance.
Italy have a big tradition of convinving South American players to play for them. In the past we have seen players like Amauri, Mauro Camoranesi and Jorginho switch allegiance to play for the country.
Martinelli could be the next player to join that list.