For most, the club vs. country debate is superficial. But for ex-Liverpool attacker Yan Dhanda, it could mean a decision between one or the other.
When it comes to club or country, the decision for players is more often one simply talked about among supporters.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, for example, has been widely urged to focus on Liverpool over England after regularly being overlooked by Gareth Southgate.
For Dhanda, though, the issue is much more complicated.
The 24-year-old attacking midfielder spent five years on Merseyside, having joined from West Brom in 2013, becoming the first player of Indian heritage to sign for the club.
Now with Ross County in the Scottish Premiership, he played a vital role in their avoiding relegation on the final day of the season.
But while he is eager to represent India at national team level, and those in his father’s country want him to do so, red tape is blocking him from a call-up.
Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) status is granted to allow unrestricted travel in India, but local laws prevent citizens from overseas from representing the country in any sport.
Dual-citizenship is not permitted either, meaning Dhanda would be required to give up his UK passport in order to play for India.
That would then make his club career decidedly more difficult, as there is no guarantee he would then move freely around sides in Europe.
In order to play for India, then, and therefore increase their chances of qualify for a World Cup along with other OCI cardholders, Dhanda would require a change of government policy.
“To play for India is a dream for me, but to give up my passport is very difficult in the moment,” he told Khel Now TV in April.
“I want to continue playing in Europe and showing what I can do in Europe on some of the biggest stages.
“I do want hopefully find a solution for me to fulfil that dream of playing for India and going to a World Cup with India. It’s what I dream of.
“But at the moment, there are some difficult circumstances which hopefully we can get past and allow it to happen.”
There are other factors at play, including Dhanda’s young family being based in the UK, which make it almost impossible under the current circumstances.
Giving up my passport means I can’t play professionally in the UK and some European clubs, due to India’s FIFA ranking. Permitting OCI cards, similar to other countries, will allow me to represent the Indian football team as a dual national. I hope this can happen soon ?? https://t.co/YOfT5YmnIa
— Yan (@yandhanda) March 27, 2023
He has, however, held “positive conversations” with Shaji Prabhakaran, general secretary of the Indian FA, with the hope that federation and government can “come to an agreement.”
India have never taken part in the World Cup, with financial difficulties seeing them withdraw from the 1950 tournament, though they are part of qualification for 2026.
They are currently ranked 101st in the world, and as Dhanda explains, it may take a change of policy to improve on that.