Fulham midfielder Steed Malbranque is ready to turn his back on France to play international football for Belgium.
Malbranque is becoming increasingly frustrated at his inability to force his way in to Les Bleus’ senior squad despite having been an integral member of the Under-21 side.
He is now contemplating taking advantage of a change in Fifa’s regulations to swap his international allegiance to the country of his birth.
The 24-year-old was born in Mouscron but moved to France at the age of four and subsequently represented his adopted country at every level from Under-15s upwards.
However, to obtain senior international recognition the mercurial playmaker concedes he may have to exploit Fifa rules and play for Belgium.
“It is very important for me and for my career to play international football,” said Malbranque.
“It can enhance your position in the game and everyone wants to be involved in the major tournaments and play on the world stage.
“I get frustrated because from the age of 14 I have played for France at every level but I have not been able to break through in to the senior squad.
“It is up to the coach how he makes his selections but there were periods recently when there were a lot of injuries and that would have been a good time for me to play for the full international team.
“Before this year I had my heart set on France and that is the way it has always been. It is still my dream but I have not been capped yet and was born in Belgium so maybe there is a chance I could play for them.
“I am thinking about it and maybe I am just waiting for Belgium to call.”
Malbranque feels a factor in his failure to play for the senior French side is Les Bleus coach Jacques Santini, who sold the schemer to Fulham in 2001 while he was in charge of Lyon.
He added: “I did not play much under Santini there and that was one of the reasons I left.
“There is not a problem with him but sometimes one coach likes a player and another doesn’t.”