What would the English national cricket and rugby teams be without their naturalised South Africans etc.?
Not very much probably, or just as little as their national football team is these days.
And so it comes as no surprise that the FA is eyeing Manchester United’s new Belgian born teen sensation, Adnan Januzaj.
The 18-year-old who sprang to prominence after scoring a brace for the Red Devils against hapless Sunderland at the weekend has a bright future ahead of him.
Ex-United boss Alex Ferguson once called him a “beautifully balanced player”, and a host of nations are now falling over themselves to claim him as their own.
First up was Belgium, where Januzaj was born.
The coach of the highly impressive up-and-coming Benelux nation, Marc Wilmots, had hoped to make Januzaj a full Belgian international this week.
Wilmots approached the teen to call him up for Belgium’s World Cup qualifier against Croatia in Zagreb, but admits that he was turned away, which is a pity, considering the exciting young talent already on show for Diables Rouges.
Apparently Januzaj is yet to decide which nation to represent.
"Manchester United told me that Januzaj has not made a decision to play for a national team yet, not for any country," said Wilmots.
"We gave a clear signal [that we want him to play for Belgium] and now it's up to him. I will respect his choice."
Januzaj reportedly qualifies to play for Belgium, Albania Serbia and Turkey, and if he stays in England long enough, for the Three Lions too.
And while it may be a stretch to suggest that he could be the saviour if English football after one match-changing display for United, England boss Roy Hodgson admits he is keeping an eye on Januzaj.
"It has to be seriously debated before we start renationalising players but there's no doubt he's a real talent and we have our eyes on him,” he told Match of the Day. “There's a lot still to be discussed."