One to keep an eye on

Chelsea have an American midfielder I didn’t know about. I found out from an American during an English match in a pub with an Irish owner. Coincidentally, the player has turned out for the national teams of England, the Republic of Ireland and America. No wonder I’m confused.

Kyle Scott made his competitive debut in the FA Cup fifth round against Hull City last Friday. The kick-off was 2pm Central time and I watched it in the bar with a handful of other local Blues fans. Scott, who has just turned 20, came on as a substitute with about half an hour left to replace Cesc Fabregas (how is that for an inaugural appearance?). 

Last summer he was in China and Singapore with the senior squad, but none of us recognised him when he appeared on the touchline. Then a supporter a few yards away said, ‘That’s Kyle Scott. He’s a Yank.’ I immediately Googled his name and read, ‘Birthplace - Bath, England,’ but the next story referred to, ‘The USA Under-20 international’.

Both my daughter and I have tri-citizenship - I was born in Belfast so have a British passport, but anyone born on the island of Ireland is entitled to one from the Republic of Ireland as well, while I took American citizenship in 2007. As I’m closing in on 50 I will reluctantly admit my shot at an international call-up is possibly gone - however if I do want to sit by the phone and wait then at least I’ve trebled my chances.

Anyway, more surprising to me than Scott’s convoluted international history is that one of our fans in Louisiana identified him straight away. A young player for his club without a single minute of action all season, who has not yet represented the USA at senior level, and yet he was still on his radar. That dedication, my English, Irish and Stateside friends, is truly impressive.