I’m bored, let’s try somewhere else.

3 06 2009

Rhys Williams, spot the difference

Before (16th April 2009). “Obviously I’m Australian, but I enjoy playing for Wales. That’s where I am at the minute – and that’s where I intend to stay. I don’t think I could switch now. Wales have been good to me and I’ve made my decision to play here. But it’s down to Wales to play me now. I thought I’d get a shout in one of the last two qualifiers, but it wasn’t to be. Hopefully I’ll get to play next time.” From here.

After (2nd June 2009). “I played for Wales at under-21 level. I was called into the main squad, but as soon as I got into the first team squad I felt as though I didn’t belong because I am not really Welsh. I am Australian.”

“It wasn’t really about the World Cup. I just felt I was not Welsh and I am Australian. The lads are a lot nicer. I am just glad to come away with them and everything else that happens is a bonus. If I can do well in training, who knows. I am the youngest in the squad at the moment which is good for me. It would be great to play in Australia; I have never played in my own country.” From here.

What caused the change? Highly rated Welsh Under-21 International Rhys Williams found out that Australia are sniffing around him. Australia have more chance of qualifying for the World Cup so Rhys decides he’s Australian again. Why did he choose to play for the Wales U21 team you may well ask. Was he merely using Wales to put himself in the “Shop Window”? Is he Owen Hargreaves mk.II?

I imagine that quite a few people are steamed up over this but you could ask yourself, what’s the point? People tend to talk about nationality as an immovable thing but it’s not. Just think of Eastern Europe since 1989; you can’t find any Czechoslovakian or Soviet or East German citizens now. Take someone born in Podgorica in 1988, they have been Yugoslavian, then Serbian and now Montenegrin, and that’s without moving. What would they feel they are?

Your nationality is only the result of your birth in a certain place, or the result of your parents’ birth in a certain place, or even the result of your grandparents’ birth in a certain place. To put it another way you could be born anywhere but you are supposed to care about the place that is your birthplace. 

The idea that people should care so deeply about their birthplace, their ethnic nation, can seem really absurd when you add in the idea that this thing you are supposed to care so deeply about (because it’s part of your soul and it’s been there for millenia) is actually an imagined community anyway.

Back to Rhys. You can’t blame him, can you? This move will look better in his career portfolio. He’s joined a country that matches his ambitions, good luck to him!!




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