English-born Sutter happy to opt for Switzerland
Born and raised in England, Scott Sutter is sure he made the
right choice by opting to play international football for his
father’s native Switzerland.
Sutter has been promised an international debut by coach Ottmar
Hitzfeld in a friendly against Australia on Friday. Four days
later, Switzerland opens its European Championship qualifying
program against England.
Just four years ago, that would have posed a problem. Then a
Swiss under-21 player, Sutter revealed he was still an England fan
and hoped to switch allegiance from the adopted home where he
arrived at age 16 to begin his professional career.
Today, his loyalty runs deeper.
”I see Switzerland as my home now,” Sutter told The Associated
Press after his first national team training session on Tuesday
evening. ”When I made the decision before about England, and not
playing for Switzerland again, obviously I was a younger player.
I’d only been in Switzerland for four years.
”Now I’ve been here for eight-and-a-half years and things look
a lot different,” the 24-year-old Sutter said.
His father, Werner, and mother Irena – who is English with
Polish roots – will travel from their home in north London to see
their son play at St. Gallen on Friday. They plan to be at Basel’s
St. Jakob Park next Tuesday where he will likely begin on the
Sutter said his father is very proud, because ”he’s Swiss as
Elevation to international status continues Sutter’s stunning
season, which took off when his club Young Boys scored a shock 1-0
victory in Istanbul to eliminate Fenerbahce from Champions League
Young Boys was then paired with Tottenham, and upset Sutter’s
boyhood favorite team 3-2 in Bern – having led 3-0 after 28 minutes
– before losing the return match 4-0.
”The last three weeks has been amazing,” he said. ”When you
play against teams like Fenerbahce and Tottenham you can measure
yourself. It’s interesting for myself as a player to know where I
stand among players like that, and I don’t think the difference was
Sutter was told of his call-up by a club official and spoke with
Hitzfeld for the first time Tuesday.
The veteran German – who led Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich
to become European champions in a five-year spell – invited his new
recruit to a welcoming chat at the team hotel in Feusisberg.
”He just wanted to find out about me as a person,” revealed
Sutter, who has learned to speak fluent German. ”Not just my
football but where I come from, how my life is.
”When you just chat with him face-to-face you just think, ‘This
is Ottmar Hitzfeld that I’m talking to, like, one-on-one talking
about my family!’ It’s a bit surreal. It’s special.”
When Hitzfeld names his team to play England, Sutter expects the
right-back to be established starter Stephan Lichtsteiner, the
Lazio player who was a standout in World Cup qualification and
played every minute of Switzerland’s three matches in South
Sutter began at under-21 level as Lichtsteiner’s deputy, and now
is reunited with former colleagues like goalkeeper Diego Benaglio,
left-back Reto Ziegler and midfielder Gokhan Inler.
They form his extended football family more than the England
players coming to Switzerland, none of whom he recalls facing in
youth football stints with Millwall, Barnet, Aston Villa and
Sutter wants to play in England’s Premier League one day, but
right now he wants to impress Switzerland’s coach, players and
”Obviously you don’t know really where you stand,” Sutter
said, ”but it’s just important to show a bit of confidence and
know what I can do.”