Former England defender cleared to play for Sierra Leone

December 17, 2021 GMT
FILE - Tottenham Hotspur's Steven Caulker during the English Premier League soccer match against Queen's Park Rangers at Tottenham's White Hart Lane stadium in London, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012. Former England defender Steven Caulker has switched eligibility to represent Sierra Leone, FIFA said Friday Dec. 17, 2021. Caulker, who has a grandparent from Sierra Leone, can now be selected for the African Cup of Nations. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)
FILE - Tottenham Hotspur's Steven Caulker during the English Premier League soccer match against Queen's Park Rangers at Tottenham's White Hart Lane stadium in London, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012. Former England defender Steven Caulker has switched eligibility to represent Sierra Leone, FIFA said Friday Dec. 17, 2021. Caulker, who has a grandparent from Sierra Leone, can now be selected for the African Cup of Nations. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)
FILE - Tottenham Hotspur's Steven Caulker during the English Premier League soccer match against Queen's Park Rangers at Tottenham's White Hart Lane stadium in London, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012. Former England defender Steven Caulker has switched eligibility to represent Sierra Leone, FIFA said Friday Dec. 17, 2021. Caulker, who has a grandparent from Sierra Leone, can now be selected for the African Cup of Nations. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)
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FILE - Tottenham Hotspur's Steven Caulker during the English Premier League soccer match against Queen's Park Rangers at Tottenham's White Hart Lane stadium in London, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012. Former England defender Steven Caulker has switched eligibility to represent Sierra Leone, FIFA said Friday Dec. 17, 2021. Caulker, who has a grandparent from Sierra Leone, can now be selected for the African Cup of Nations. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)
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FILE - Tottenham Hotspur's Steven Caulker during the English Premier League soccer match against Queen's Park Rangers at Tottenham's White Hart Lane stadium in London, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012. Former England defender Steven Caulker has switched eligibility to represent Sierra Leone, FIFA said Friday Dec. 17, 2021. Caulker, who has a grandparent from Sierra Leone, can now be selected for the African Cup of Nations. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

ZURICH (AP) — Former England defender Steven Caulker has switched eligibility to represent Sierra Leone, FIFA said Friday.

Caulker, who has a grandparent from Sierra Leone, can now be selected for the African Cup of Nations.

Caulker will turn 30 before the tournament starts on Jan. 9 in Cameroon. Sierra Leone is in a group with Algeria, Ivory Coast and Equatorial Guinea.

He was with Tottenham when making his only appearance for England in November 2012, scoring in a 4-2 loss at Sweden. The game is best known for Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring his fourth goal with a long-distance overhead kick.

Because that game was a friendly and Caulker never played in a competition game for England, FIFA rules let him switch eligibility to a country where he always had a family link.

Caulker currently plays in Turkey with Gaziantep, on loan from Fenerbahçe.

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