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Soccer-Spurs teenager Bentaleb to represent Algeria at World Cup

Reuters

Feb 15 (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Nabil Bentaleb has agreed to play for Algeria at the World Cup in Brazil in June and is in the squad for next month's warm-up fixture against Slovenia.

The 19-year-old is a French junior international but because he holds dual nationality can change his allegiance in accordance with the rules of world soccer's governing body FIFA.

Bentaleb has played once for France's under-19s in a friendly which means he will not have to go through the official process of changing footballing nationality.

"He has agreed to play for the country of his parents after meeting Algerian Football Federation president Mohamed Raouaraoua," the federation said in a statement.

"He will be called up for the game on March 5 against Slovenia in Blida."

Bentaleb's situation had been the cause of much speculation in the Algerian media in recent weeks.

The teenager broke into the first team at Tottenham just before Christmas after Tim Sherwood replaced Andre Villas-Boas as manager. (Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Pretoria, editing by Tony Jimenez; mark.gleeson@thomsonreuters.com; +27 82 8257807; Reuters Messaging: mark.gleeson.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net; To sign up for our Global Sports Forum chatroom, click on https://forms.thomsonreuters.com/global_sports_forum)

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