Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha has decided to represent Ivory Coast, following rumours that he would switch international allegiance, according to reports.
Zaha, who has been in excellent form for the Eagles this season, has two caps for England at senior international level. However, both appearances were made in friendlies meaning he is still eligible to play for the Elephants having been born in the country's economic capital, Abidjan. .
Zaha had been overlooked during selection for the England squad in recent years, despite him being the South Londoners’ best player for most that time - leaving him frustrated at a lack of opportunity on the international stage. His last cap came in the summer of 2013 in a 3-2 victory over Scotland at Wembley. That game followed his debut against Sweden in November 2012, a game famous for Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring all four goals for his side – including a remarkable 40-yard overhead kick – in a 4-2 defeat for the Three Lions.
Pardew felt Zaha was 'still hoping' for England recall
Prior to Palace’s incredible 5-4 defeat to Swansea City this weekend, manager Alan Pardew claimed that his star man was “still hoping” for a recall to the England squad, despite his three-year exile. However, news of his switch suggests that all hope had been lost.
The Palace academy product – who has had two spells at the club sandwiched between a failed big-money move to Manchester United – has reportedly declared his availability for the Elephants in time for January’s Africa Cup of Nations. The competition runs from the fourteenth of January to the fifth of February, meaning Zaha will miss an important part of his club’s Premier League campaign.
Zaha also represented England at youth level, making two appearances for the Three Lions’ under-19s and scoring once in 13 caps at Under-21 level.
The winger has scored twice and made six assists in the top-flight this season, meaning he has directly contributed to 38% of Palace’s goals this season.