Burnley's James Tarkowski: I always considered myself English

Burnley's James Tarkowski: I always considered myself English
From ESPN - March 20, 2018

Had things worked out differently for James Tarkowski he might have been heading to the World Cup with Poland, but the Burnley defender insists he feels as English as bangers and mash.

Tarkowski joined up with the Three Lions for the first time this week ahead of friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy, having turned Gareth Southgate's head with a season's worth of impressive performances in the Clarets backline.

The 25-year-old did have another route into international football thanks to his grandfather Boleslaw.

England and Poland are slated for a possible last-16 clash in the World Cup but there will be no split loyalties on Tarkowski's side.

"I have always seen myself as an English person so to play for Poland would be difficult,'' he said.

"I know that side of the family, it's not something I have never thought of or people I have never spoken to, but I have always seen myself as English.

"It's only really the name that's followed me around.''

He speaks no Polish and his reply to a question about inherited culinary tastes was even more telling.

"Sausage and mash,'' he offered with a smile.

Tarkowski admits the only contact from Poland was tentative and tangential but faced a more forceful push from one of his cousins, Pawel.

"There were a couple of conversations with people not at the top of the Polish FA but a couple of people associated with them, mentioning would I think about it and would I look at it?'' he said.


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