Many EFL players lit up the recent winter World Cup in Qatar, for example Watford’s Ismaila Sarr and Sheffield United’s Iliman Ndiaye for Senegal. Reading’s Junior Hoilett for Canada and Swansea’s Joe Allen for Wales. All of these players prior are well known for representing their countries. However, what about those EFL players who are not well known for representing their country. This is what we are going to look into today.
1. George Baldock; Greece
The Sheffield United right-back, who has played 25 championship games this season for the Blades getting one goal and one assist, was born in Buckingham, England. However, is eligible to represent Greece through his grandmother. On 27th May 2022 Baldock was called up to the Greek squad by Head Coach Gus Poyet for the first time, ahead of the National League fixtures in June. On the 2nd of June 2022 Baldock made his debut for Greece coming on as a substitute against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park, in a 0-1 for Greece.
Baldock has since gone on to make a following five appearances for Greece to date. Where the former Oxford and MK Dons defender, played the full 90 minutes in all matches helping Greece top the Nations League group above the likes of Northern Ireland, Cyprus and Kosovo.
Baldock is hoping to help Greece qualify for Euro 2024. This will be a difficult challenge for Baldock and Greece, who were drawn into a qualifying group against France and the Netherlands.
2. Callum styles; HUNGARY
The 22-year-old is currently on loan at Millwall from Barnsley, where he has made 16 appearances scoring one goal against West Brom. Styles impressed viewers of the EFL whilst playing in the left-wing back role for Barnsley helping them get into the championship playoffs in 2020/2021 season.
Styles was born in Bury but was eligible to play for Hungary or Ukraine through his grandparents. On the 14th of March 2022 Styles was included in the Hungarian squad for matches against Serbia and Northern Ireland. On the 22nd of March 2022 Styles debuted for Hungary against Serbia in the Puskas Arena coming on as a substitute in the 70th minute.
The 22-year old has gone on to make a further nine appearances for Hungary. Including playing 56th minutes against his country of birth England helping Hungary infamously win 0-4 against England at Molineux. Styles has also featured for Hungary against the likes of Germany and Italy in the Nations League helping Hungary finish second in the group. The midfielder got his first assist for Hungary on the 20th of November 2022 in a 2-1 friendly victory vs Greece.
3.CJ HAMILTON; IRELAND
The 27-year-old winger has played 20 matches for struggling Blackpool this season, scoring once and getting three assists. The winger was born in Harrow, England but moved to Clonea, Waterford, Ireland as a child and lived there for 14 years.
The former Mansfield Town man received his first call up to the Republic of Ireland senior team on the 25th of May 2022 ahead of the countries Nations League fixtures versus Armenia, Ukraine and Scotland. On the 8th of June 2022 Hamilton made his Ireland debut. The winger came off the bench and played 12 minutes versus Ukraine in a 0-1 home lost for Ireland. Hamilton was on the bench for the other Nations League fixtures but did not come on. The winger has not been called up since for the Republic of Ireland senior team.
4. Oliver Norburn; Grenada
The 30-year-old has been at Peterborough since August 2021 where he has made 38 appearances, however, has been out this season with a long-term knee ligament injury. The midfield is best known for his spell at Shrewsbury town where he made 116 appearances, scoring 18 goals.
The midfielder is eligible to play for Grenada through his paternal grandfather. On the 9th of November 2019, Norburn was called up to the Grenada national team for the CONCAFF Nations League. Norburn made his debut on 14th July 2021 for Grenada in a CONCAFF Gold Cup loss to Honduras. The midfielder has since gone on to make three more appearances for Grenada including 36 minutes against Andorra in a friendly in March 2022 the game ended 1-0 to Andorra.
5. Pelly- Ruddock Mpanzu; DR CONGO
A modern-day Luton legend. The midfielder, joined the club on loan in 2013, he signed permanently in 2014 when the club was still in the conference. Now Mpanzu is an integral part of the Luton squad which is fighting for promotion in the championship. Mpanzu has played 12 games in the championship this season with Luton currently in 7th place. In total the midfielder has played 374 games for Luton scoring 23 goals in the process.
The 28-year-old was born in Hendon, Greater London but is of Congolese descent. He was called up to represent DR Congo national team for a pair of friendlies in June 2021. He made his debut for DR Congo against Tunisia in a friendly on the 5th of June 2021 with his side losing 1-0. Mpanzu was also called up for the DR Congo squad to face Morocco in the playoffs to see who would qualify for the World Cup. Mpanzu was an unused substitute in 1-1 draw on the 25th of March 2022. The 28-year-old did not make the bench for the decisive playoff match in Morocco where Morocco beat DR Congo four goals to one.