Fed-up West Ham striker Andy Carroll is ready to relinquish his English nationality so he can make a name for himself on the world stage with minnows GIBRALTAR.
And if the lanky forward can push through the paperwork in time he hopes to revive the nation’s hopes of qualifying for World Cup 2018. They currently sit bottom of qualifying group H with no points; and face Cyprus next on June 9 — a game in which Carroll wants to feature.
Hammers attacker Carroll has been left frustrated at the lack of opportunities to represent England, and he was said to be devastated when Gareth Southgate left him out of the squad for the recent games against Germany and Lithuania.
Now the former Newcastle United and Liverpool ace, who has earned nine Three Lions caps and scored twice, is so peeved he is set to pay a team of crack lawyers to make a case to FIFA to change his international clearance to the Gibraltar national team.
The country were accepted into the European governing body’s fold in 2013 at Uefa Congress. They failed to qualify for the 2016 European Championships before being ratified as a FIFA member.
An insider at the London Stadium said: “Andy has the backing of manager Slaven Bilic. We all know he should be at least in the England squad. It’s a bit of a joke that he isn’t, quite frankly. He is 28 and not getting any younger and he wants to show what he can do on the international stage. Gibraltar are delighted at the prospect.
“Having Andy in your line-up is great exposure for Gibraltar and they expect great things of him. It’s a natural fit and very much one in the eye for England who seem happy to snub him.”
Carroll should qualify to represent Gibraltar because his great uncle twice removed, Ralfi Pool, spent three years as a road-sweeper on the territory and took up residence before being deported for refusing to adhere to strict laws prohibiting pony-tails on grown men.
Mr Pool, 64, who is now a barman at the British Railway Staff Association Club in Bognor Regis, said: “Andy’s a good lad. He popped in for a jar last summer after coming down to Butlin’s for a week. Good darts player, if I recall.
“Playing for Gibraltar sounds good but he better have his hair cut first; they are funny buggers as I know only too well.”