ENGLAND midfielder Jack Wilshere has attempted to diffuse an escalating row over his view of eligibility for the national side.
Wilshere sent out a series of tweets on Wednesday evening aimed at clarifying his position over a delicate issue, which he initially waded into during a press conference ahead of England's World Cup qualifier with Montenegro on Friday.
"To be clear, never said 'Born in England' – I said English people should play for England," said Wilshere (right).
"Great respect for people like KP (Kevin Pietersen), Mo Farah and Wilf Zaha – they make the country proud.
"My view on football – going to a new country when ur an adult, & because u can get a passport u play 4 that national team – I disagree."
Earlier, Wilshere became embroiled in a Twitter spat with Kevin Pietersen after initially hitting out at the idea that Manchester United rising star Adnan Januzaj could one day don the Three Lions.
Januzaj, who scored twice on his full debut for Manchester United at the weekend, was born in Belgium and could represent either Turkey, Serbia or Kosovo – who are not currently a recognised FIFA nation.
However, he would also be eligible to play for England if he remained in the country for five years after his 18th birthday, which was in February this year.
Januzaj has said that he will not make a decision on his international future until he is playing regular first-team football.
Crucially, he is not dismissing the prospect of playing for England, an uncomfortable prospect for Wilshere, who claimed: "The only people who should play for England are English people."
Wilshere later claimed his comments were taken out of context.
However, even a clarification failed to pacify Pietersen, England's South Africa-born Ashes hero, who has played 99 Tests for his adopted country, for whom he qualifies through his English mother.
The 33-year-old reeled off a number of star sportsmen who represent the country despite being born abroad as evidence that foreigners can play for England with pride.
Pietersen tweeted: "@JackWilshere – interested to know how you define foreigner...? Would that include me, (Andrew) Strauss, (Jonathan) Trott, (Matthew) Prior, Justin Rose, (Chris) Froome, Mo Farah?"
Wilshere tried to defend his comments by responding with: "@KP24 With all due respect Mr Pietersen the question was about Football! Cricket, cycling, athletics is not my field!"
However, FA chairman Greg Dyke does not want England to find themselves at a disadvantage by ignoring FIFA's eligibility rules.
"We need to look at the rules," said Dyke. "We need to look at what other countries are doing and whether we are putting ourselves at a competitive disadvantage by not doing it."