Nigel Reo-Coker will likely play for Sierra Leone in the October Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)
Aston Villa midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker will be called up for Sierra Leone, according to the BBC. While Reo-Coker captained the England U-21s in the 2007 UEFA U-21 Championship, he was unable to make the 2006 World Cup bench due to back problems and so has not been capped for England on the senior level.
Born in England, NRC is of Sierra Leonean descent and even spent six years in the country when he was young, although that has no bearing on his ability to play for the country. At this point, considering the midfield blockage on the England squad, and Fabio Capello's unwillingness to look very far for defensive midfielders, it's almost certain that Reo-Coker will never play for the England senior squad.
Reo-Coker has had a bit of a rough year. Although injured last season, he was also held back by a training ground contretemps with Martin O'Neill, an incident that saw him left out of the starting XI through the end of last season. But with O'Neill well out the door, and James Milner off to Manchester City, he's had a couple opportunities to prove himself on the pitch. Although I wasn't much of a fan prior to the start of this season, NRC has impressed me enough that I've come around to wanting to see him on the pitch. The Villa need the presence of another defensive midfielder, and Reo-Coker's ability to win the ball and hold up opposing attackers make him a suitable candidate.
I don't know much about Sierra Leone, except that they've only qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations twice. I have no idea if Nigel Reo-Coker will be a good fit in the national side. But I like seeing Villans out on international duty. There's always a chance that they might get hurt, of course, but to me, the benefits outweigh the costs (unless we're talking about Salifou on a bus in Angola). Players in other countries, from other clubs, often play using other styles. With Villa falling out of Europe at the first hurdle two seasons running, it seems that Villans could use any opportunities to expose themselves to other types of play.