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Allardyce wanted to pick former Blackburn Rovers midfielder

England boss Sam Allardyce wanted to pick former Blackburn Rovers midfielder Steven N’Zonzi for his England squad, according to Sunday’s print edition of The Sun.

It is believed that Allardyce was keen on calling up Frenchman N’Zonzi for his first England squad, but the attempt failed.  The midfielder is eligible for UK citizenship from his time with Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City, but couldn’t play for England due to France Under-21 caps.  N’Zonzi played for France Under-21s before he was eligible for UK citizenship, meaning he can now only play for the France national team.

Allardyce brought N’Zonzi to England when he was in charge of Blackburn Rovers, signing the midfielder for £500,000 from French side Amiens.  The deal turned out to be a bargain, with Blackburn selling N’Zonzi for £3 million and Stoke selling him to Sevilla for £7 million.  N’Zonzi won the Europa League in his first season with the Spanish side.

Allardyce said of the attempted call-up: “It would have been of interest for me and we did explore it. We did have a call but it was impossible.

“This lad won player of the year at Blackburn in his first year having come from the French Second Division. I’m not surprised he’s got to Sevilla, that’s not being disrespectful to Blackburn or Stoke.”

N’Zonzi made 96 appearances during his time at Blackburn, scoring five goals.  The midfielder won Player of the Year for the 2009-10 season, his first at the club.

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