Aston Villa defender Matty Cash in line for Poland switch after gaining citizenship

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A product of the Nottingham Forest academy, Cash joined Aston Villa in September 2020 - GETTY IMAGES
A product of the Nottingham Forest academy, Cash joined Aston Villa in September 2020 - GETTY IMAGES

Aston Villa defender Matty Cash will now be able to represent Poland after his Polish citizenship was approved by the country’s authorities.

The Villa right-back, whose mother is half-Polish, described it as an “important day for me and my family” after his citizenship application was accelerated following talks between the Polish Football Association and Andrzej Duda, the Poland president.

Cash was born in Slough and is a product of the Nottingham Forest academy. He made more than 140 appearances for Forest before joining Villa in September 2020 for a fee of around £16 million.

Maciej Chorążyk, the Poland Football Association’s foreign scouting coordinator, said they were first contacted by Cash “two or three years ago” after he filled out an online profile.

“There is a lot of enthusiasm in the Cash family,” said Paulo Sousa, the Poland manager. “It looks like time is running very fast for them. They want to be with us as soon as possible so that Matty can help our team.

“Playing in the national team is not only a great responsibility but also something additional, which is very difficult to describe in words.”

Cash could make his international debut in next month’s World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Hungary, and he will hope to do so alongside Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski.

“This is a very important day for me and my family,” said Cash. “My application for Polish citizenship has been approved by the Polish authorities. I would like to thank the president, my family and other people who helped in this. Time for new challenges, I will do my best for this country.”

Cash hopes to follow former team-mate Brereton's lead

In their time as team-mates at Nottingham Forest, few people would have thought that Matty Cash and Ben Brereton would one day have the opportunity of playing at a World Cup finals. Even fewer people would have thought they could do so for Poland and Chile respectively, and yet that is the fascinating reality for both men in a changing international landscape.

Brereton (now known as Brereton Diaz) was born in Stoke-on-Trent to a Chilean mother and an English father. Cash was born in Slough, to a half-Polish mother. It is a reflection of their shared sense of adventure, and the pride they take in their backgrounds, that they are so willing to pursue international football away from the country where they grew up.

The former team-mates are two examples of a recent trend for English-born (or English-raised) players to look abroad in search of international football. Michail Antonio, born in Wandsworth, recently made his debut for a Jamaica team that also featured Ethan Pinnock (born in Lambeth), Kemar Roofe (born in Walsall) and Bobby Decordova-Reid (born in Bristol). As reported by Telegraph Sport earlier this year, Jamaica also want Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood to represent them.

All of these situations are of course individual, with different players taking these decisions for different reasons, but as a collective they are also indicative of the global nature of the game.

One can only hope that Cash’s international career turns out to be as thrilling as Brereton Diaz’s. The Blackburn Rovers striker has become a sensation for Chile, scoring three goals in his eight international appearances, and has even become the face of Pepsi in the country. Cash has some way to go to match those feats but with Robert Lewandowski as a team-mate, anything is possible.

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