Following news of Wan Bissaka reportedly prepared to turn his back on England if he is not selected for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers, Crystal Palace coach Roy Hodgson has shared some words of counsel with his former player.
After making the Three Lions squad on one occasion but forced to drop out due to injury, the Manchester United defender has a choice to make as to which country he wants to play for with the Euros and World Cup qualifiers ahead.
Wan-Bissaka in the past featured for DR Congo’s Under-20s in 2015 before, in the ensuing years, featuring for the Three Lions at various age groups.
Born in Croydon but of Congolese descent, the former Crystal Palace full-back will return to his former club as Manchester United takes on his old manager at Selhurst Park on Wednesday.
During Roy Hodgson’s four-year spell in charge of the English national team, he is credited with convincing Jack Grealish to pick the country of his birth rather than the Republic of Ireland.
But in Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s case, despite being a regular starter at his club side, the 23-year-old full-back has always been snubbed while Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold remains the first choice, while the likes of Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker and Reece James are all preferred over him.
But speaking in an interview in the wake of Wan-Bissaka’s predicament, Roy Hodgson said: “I would like to see him hold on. I would like to see him wait a bit longer.
“At the moment there’s a big competition at right-back and he might not get into the team. Wilf was another good example. It’s always disappointing for me to see how England did miss out on using Wilf Zaha.
“I’m hoping Aaron will be patient and not dive straight in to play for an African nation. Like a lot of players, there’s a background with DR Congo but it’s not a country he’s actually lived in.
“England is the country he’s lived in, grown up in and played all his football in so it would be nice if he can dedicate his skills to England. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
“At the same time, I’m not trying to put pressure on him or Gareth Southgate in any way whatsoever. It will be what it will be.”