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Blackman Set For Israel Call Up?

Last week The Tilehurst End was approached by Aviv Kohen, who works for Israel HaYom, about Nick Blackman. @WilliamOwain reveals why...

Ben Hoskins

Anyone who managed Reading on Football Manager 2014 will know that Nick Blackman is eligible for Poland. When this first emerged the response on Twitter was one of surprise to say the least.

Interesting family history

But Poland are not the only country Blackman is eligible for. Back in 2010, whilst on loan at Motherwell, Blackman revealed to the Daily Record that he could play international football for Barbados, England, Holland or Poland.

If he ever does play international football, though, it will not be the first time that he has played on the international stage. Blackman first experienced international football at just 13 - when he played for Great Britain at the Jewish Olympics.

He told the Daily Record: "I was only 13 when I went to the Maccabiah Games in Israel. They are known as the Jewish Olympics and I was part of a British schools team."

"I qualified through my gran Marta. She was in Holland when the Second World War broke out and was made homeless. Her family had died and she was on her own so a Jewish family took her in. She became Jewish and when I had the chance to go the Maccabiah Games I took it."

The 25 year old's Jewish background meant that he became the first English-born Jew to start a Premier League game when he played for Reading at Stoke City in 2013. It is perhaps a shame that we have not heard more about his interesting family background, especially given that most football interviews tend to cover well-trodden ground and bring out the usual clichés.

Interest in Israel

Blackman's Jewish background may have largely gone under the radar in Reading, but it has been noticed in Israel. Last week The Tilehurst End was approached by Aviv Kohen, who works for Israel HaYom, the biggest circulating newspaper in Israel, about the Reading forward. I was happy to help and those of you who can read Hebrew can enjoy his article below. If like me, you need the help of google translate, then this link will take you to Aviv's article.

Blackman in Israeli press

According to Aviv, Blackman could be eligible for Israeli citizenship which of course would make him eligible to don the blue of Israel. Whether the Salford-born forward knows this or not, we don't know. But just maybe Aviv's article, and the help of the Tilehurst End, may lead to Blackman realising his dream of international football on an unlikely stage.

With that in mind, maybe today we should be wishing him יום הולדת שמח (Yom Huledet Sameakh) rather than Happy Birthday!