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Melikson stakes claim for Poland Euro 2012 squad
Published : 21 Sep 2011 12:35:35
Israeli star Maor Melikson has staked his claim on a place in Poland's squad as they brace to host Euro 2012, the head of the Polish football association said Wednesday.
"Maor has told me he really wants to play for Poland. I think it's only a matter of time before he gets his first cap in the national team," Grzegorz Lato said on the association's website.
Speculation has raged for months that the Wisla Krakow attacking midfielder could become the latest name on a growing list of foreigners tapped by Poland to build up their squad for the European championships on home turf.
Melikson, 26, transferred to top-flight Wisla earlier this year from Israel's Hapoel Beer Sheva.
He immediately proved a crucial asset in Wisla's winning title fight and was named the Polish league's "Discovery of the Year".
The Israeli's mother was born in Poland, smoothing his way to a Polish passport, which he has already obtained.
Melikson earned a total of 25 caps for Israel's under-19s and under-21s, scoring three goals.
He even faced Poland in an Israel shirt during the qualifiers for the 2003 under-19 European championships.
Melikson has also made two senior appearances for Israel, debuting against Uruguay in May 2010.
In his second outing, when Israel were beaten 4-3 by Ivory Coast, Melikson scored two goals.
Because those matches were only friendlies, new rules from world football's governing body FIFA enable Melikson to switch countries.
FIFA would bar him from joining Poland had ever taken to the turf for Israel in a senior-level competitive match.
Melikson was called up by Israel for their Euro 2012 qualifiers against Croatia and Greece earlier this month, but injury kept him from playing.