Dual nationality is a complex thing, an increasingly hot-topic in the modern world given how international we’re all becoming. In football, it can be particularly under the microscope given the multitude of players who have options to represent two or even three different countries. It’s often a difficult question of identity, one many struggle to articulate.
Inaki Williams certainly doesn’t. The Athletic Bilbao forward has expertly explained his feelings around his dual nationality, articulating that while he feels Ghanian and loves his ancestral homeland his culture is Spanish and that’s where his allegiance lies when it comes to international football. He’s made just one appearance for La Roja, in a friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2016, but has resisted the advances of Ghana.
“I’m grateful to where I grew and became who I am,” Williams told Sid Lowe in an interview with The Guardian. “Ghana tried to convince me, but I was born in Spain, in Bilbao. I won’t ever forget my family roots, but I feel Basque and can’t con anyone. I would be comfortable with Ghana, I’m sure, but I shouldn’t be there. And my mum knows how people live football there: it’s quite something, and she’d be worried about me.
“When my mum’s angry, she swears at us in Ghanian but we speak Spanish. When my parents came, it was English but we lost that. I could have a conversation in English but it’s not fluent now. When my grandparents call, I speak to them in Twi. I admire and love Ghana, the culture, food, tradition. My parents are from Accra and I really enjoy going. But I wasn’t born or raised there, my culture’s here, and there are players for whom it would mean more. I don’t think it would be right to take the place of someone who really deserves to go and feels Ghana 100%.”
Williams set the record for consecutive games played in La Liga at the beginning of this month, when his appearance against Alaves broke Juan Antonio Larranaga of Real Sociedad’s record of 202. He’s scored twice in eight league appearances so far this campaign, one Athletic have started well. They’re seventh in the league table, level on points with sixth-placed Rayo Vallecano and just one behind Sevilla and a Champions League place.