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Wolves' Danny Batth eyes India call-up

By Tim Spiers | Wolves | Published:

Wolves skipper Danny Batth has revealed he's explored the possibility of playing for the Indian national team.

Batth speaking during a trip to Mumbai this week (pic from @Danny_Batth Twitter)

Batth’s father hailed from Punjab and moved to England when he was 12.

Current rules on dual nationality mean the defender is ineligible to play for India, but should the opportunity arise via rule changes it's certainly something that would interest Batth.

The Molineux captain is currently out in Mumbai where he met with national team head coach Stephen Constantine. Batth also spoke to local players about about his experiences of playing in English football.

Batth would have to give up his British passport for an Indian one if he were to qualify for the national team.

The 26-year-old said: “I’ve thought about it and it doesn’t frighten me at all. But I’ve made a commitment to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

“I wouldn’t be able to reside in India because I play professionally in England. So that’s not an option.

“We (Batth and Constantine) were just talking about how much progress the team has made over the last few years and exploring the possibility of playing for India.

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“That is a possibility but it is a rule that would need amending. I could only take an Indian passport if the Indian national team meets the requirements in England to play for my club.

“I believe they have to be ranked much higher than they are.

“I’m sure he (Constantine) would like to have the option of picking players that aren’t necessarily born in India as well.”

India are currently placed 100 in the FIFA world rankings but the footballing potential of the country is huge and that's something Batth wants to explore.

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His long-time team-mate Carl Ikeme began playing for Nigeria almost two years ago, aged 29. Like Batth he qualifies through his father, but Nigeria’s eligibility rules aren’t as strict.

Batth isn’t yet ruling out an England international future, with the likes of fellow centre halves Michael Keane and Ben Gibson both being called up this season after winning promotion with Burnley and Middlesbrough a year ago.

“If you look at the centre-back situation, it’s not impossible to get into the England squad,” he added. “But I’m exploring my other opportunities first.

“I don’t have the opportunity because the Indian FA doesn’t see me as a legitimate player.

“Nearly all countries in the world recognize players of origin if their parents were born in the country – for example the Wales team that reached the semi-finals (of Euro 2016) play all around the world and have dual nationality.

“Hopefully my experience in England will be put to good use with a change in the rules of the Indian FA. I would love the opportunity to be available for selection.

“It would make all my family, friends and team-mates very proud.”

And of his Wolves career to date Batth added: “It’s been a winding road, progress is never straightforward.

“I’ve had setbacks with injuries but they help to make you mentally strong and now I am the captain and I hope to take the club into the Premier League.

“It’s very special to be such an important player at a great club in England like Wolves."

Tim Spiers

By Tim Spiers
@tim_spiers_Star

Writes about Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club for a living

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