In light of the recent "Grannygate" scandal, which engulfed British rugby - New Zealand players were picked to play for Wales. They were eligible because, allegedly, their grandmothers had brief flings with touring Welshmen - I thought I would investigate British soccer1.
LONDON, 2002: England manager Kevin Keegan offered Ronaldo an 'International lifeline' when he named the Brazilian in his team to play Scotland in a World Cup warm-up match. The injury-plagued Ronaldo has played only one game in the past two years, but impressed Keegan sufficiently in that outing... in Japan's J League... to earn the call-up.
The striker moved to England three days ago and has easily met the new residential rule, which requires a minimum five minutes.
'It is wonderful'
Ronaldo said of making the team.
Ever since I am making beautiful goals as young boy in Brazil I dream of playing for England. After World Cup, maybe I can go to Ghana because always I dream of playing for them, too.'
Ronaldo is one of four newcomers to the squad, and teams up in attack with Australian Harry Kewell, which is sure to give the Scots nightmares. Asked his reaction to lining up against Aussie pals Mark Viduka and Tony Vidmar, Kewell said:
'Mate, it's mate against mate. It's a real big ask.'
The other debutante is Middlesborough's German star Christian Ziege, who adds steel to the midfield. Ziege said:
'Some peoples who are not so kind zey say I take the place off English player, but I know in my heart I am English.'
As usual, Keegan drew criticism from traditionalists who believe national teams should be reserved for nationals, but he defended his selections.
'All these lads are English through and through. Okay, so Roberto Carlos has never been here, but his mother has signed a sworn statement saying she'll move to London next year. We figure if she's English next year, she's English now, so Robbie's one of us as well. Besides, the lad takes a wicked free kick.'
Keegan was pleased to secure the sole English-born player in his team, David Beckham, who was wanted by six other countries, which he had visited on modelling assignments this year.
'Some fans are upset that he's the one local lad in the side. You'll always get those who think foreigners are better. It's true that he can't run, tackle or head, but the boy takes a wicked free kick. Under the new rolling sub rule, we'll bring him on for dead-ball situations when Robbie doesn't fancy it.'
Keegan's next side could feature more changes if human rights groups get their way.
'They say you've got the right to be whoever you want to be. If that means more Brazilians want to be English, that's great for our game.'
Ed de Goey, Albert Ferrer, Marcel Desailly, Jaap Stam, Roberto Carlos, David Beckham, Emmanuel Petit, Juninho, Christian Ziege, Ronaldo, Harry Kewell.
Nigel Martyn, Lorenzo Arnoruso, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Lubomir Moravcik, Jorg Albertz, Tony Vidmar, Mark Viduka, Eyal Berkovic, Andrei Kanchelskis, Andy Cole, Mixu Paatalainen.