The alternative Hungarian national team

Tomasz Mortimer takes a look at the players who could have played for Hungary. 

GK: Tim Howard (Everton) – Very few people know that Tim Howard could have been a Hungary international, but thanks to his Mother, the former Manchester United man could have been competing with Gabor Király for that number one jersey if he’d chosen wisely. After spending all of his young life in New Jersey, one can forgive the US international for choosing to represent Team USA, for whom he’s made 96 appearances – including 4 matches at the 2010 World Cup. Howard has been one of the most consistent Premier League goalkeepers of the 21st century, and is a great asset to this Hungarian side.

RB: György Garics (Bologna) – Probably the most frustrating name on this teamsheet, Garics really should have played for Hungary. Growing up in Szombathely, near the Austria border, Garics played for the Haladás youth team for 8 years before moving to Rapid Vienna at 14. After failing to be called up to any Hungarian youth team – a decision which is still seen as a failure now – Garics decided to play for Austria, being called-up soon after his move to Napoli. Garics went on to play at Euro 2008 for Das Team and has been a solid Serie A right back for over 7 years.

CB: Tomáš Ujfaluši (Sparta Prague) – Ujfaluši means ‘new villager’ in Hungarian, but he’s definitely not new to the game of football. Ujfaluši is now 35, and probably still regretting the chance to play for Hungary. The former Fiorentina, Hamburg, Atletico Madrid and Galatasaray centre back played 78 games for the Czech Republic in his 8 year international career featuring in three major tournaments in a golden generation of Czech football. Ujfaluši had a number of controversial moments throughout his career, but his class can never be questioned. A fine acquisition to the side, and would most probably captain the new look team.

CB: Kenny Otigba (Heerenveen) – A contentious call up to the side with his international future still in the balance, but after being born in Nigeria, Otigba fits perfectly into the team. Otigba grew up in Hungary, but has recently been touted as a future Nigerian international despite playing for various Hungarian youth sides. The 21 year old broke into the Heerenveen first team at the start of this season, and has since become a permanent fixture in the side playing 13 games this season, scoring 3 goals. Known for his athleticism, Otigba will be the legs next to the more experienced Ujfaluši.

LB: Richard Magyar (Halmstads) – An easy call up to the side with a last name like Magyar, it is Richard’s Granddad – who fled Budapest during World War II – who qualifies him to represent Hungary. The 22 year old has had an impressive start to his career in Sweden and has represented the Swedish under 21 side 5 times. Primarily right footed, Magyar can play all across the back four but will start at left back for this side.

DM: Norbert Gyömbér (Catania) – The Slovakian born defender looks certain to represent Slovakia in the future after featuring for the Under 21 side on 9 occasions, and since his move to Catania the 21 year old has gone from strength to strength. After impressing at FK Dukla, Gyömbér got the move to Italy in the summer as has played 6 games in Serie A since his move. Really good prospect, and is equally adept in midfield – the position he’d play in this side.

CM: Filip Kiss (Cardiff City) – Filip grew up in the Hungarian minority in Slovakia, but has represented the Slovakian national team at Under 19 and Under 21 level. The 23 year old has found things hard to come by since making the permanent move to Cardiff City from Slovan Bratislava and is yet to feature in the Premier League this season. There is still chance for the defensive midfielder to play for Hungary, but I wouldn’t hold your breath. Will play alongside Gyömbér and Vass in a midfield three.

CM: Márton Vass (Sydney Olympic) – A real outsider. One might be right in saying we’re clutching at straws with this pick, but Márton would probably knock your block off if you said that to his face. The Sydney born man is a real hard nut patrolling the centre of midfield like a trusty pit bull protecting his home. Vass started his career at Holstein Kiel in Germany before moving back to Sydney in 2008. Now at semi-pro side Sydney Olympic (where former Leicester and Bradford goalkeeper Paul Henderson plays), Vass would relish the chance of roughing up some professional’s on the international stage.

AMC: Tamás Gruborovics (Inter Turku) – Some wouldn’t allow Gruborovics in this team due to him not playing for another country, and being born in Hungary, but the 29 year old has lived in Finland for nearly all of his life, and owns a Finnish passport. A lot of people wouldn’t have heard of Gruborovics outside of Finland, but he has been one of the most consistent performers in the Veikkausliiga over the last few years making a name for himself as the ‘Hungarian Frank Lampard’ popping up from midfield with plenty of goals. Gruborovics has been touted as a future Finnish international but at 29, he could be running out of time. Will play behind the front two and should be a constant goal threat.

ST: Kevin Kurányi (Dinamo Moscow) – With the choice to play for Brazil, Germany, Panama or Hungary, Kurányi inexplicably chose Germany. Despite speaking Hungarian, thanks to his father, Kurányi had a pretty decent international career for Nationalmannschaft playing 52 games, and even featuring in the final of Euro 2008. Kurányi grew up in Brazil but moved to Germany at 15 and played there for 13 years before moving to Russia in 2010. The big man has a distinguished career and can count himself unlucky to not have done more with his undoubted ability. Will sure to be very tough to handle for opposition defences.

ST: Miku (Al-Gharafa) – Nicolás Ladislao Fedor Flores grew up in Venezuela but took the nickname because of his Hungarian father. Miku moved to Valencia at 16 but played just two league games for the Valencia first team, mostly spending his time out on loan or in Valencia’s B side before moving permanently to Getafe in 2010 where he had his best spell as a player. Miku played his first game for Venezuela in 2006 at the age of 21 dashing any hopes of a chance to play for the Magyars and has since played 44 games for La Vinotinto. The 28 year old will provide a whole lot of energy, some direct running and will be the perfect accompaniment for Kevin Kurányi up front.

Manager: László Bölöni– The former Romanian, Monaco and Sporting manager is one of the most experienced managers in World football, and has Hungarian heritage in his blood. Bölöni grew up to a Hungarian family in Tarnaveni in Romania and speaks Hungarian fluently. Throughout his career he has always insisted that he wants to manage Hungary when the time is right, and what better side to do it than this! He may be looked upon as a traitor back in his homeland were he to take the job after playing over 100 times for their national team, but we all know where Bölöni ’s loyalties really lie.