Zaha accepts England call, but will he and Sterling commit?

Nov 12, 2012

Crystal Palace prospect joins England squad, but he could opt to play for Ivory Coast

Paul Gilham

CRYSTAL PALACE starlet Wilfried Zaha has been the subject of fevered transfer speculation this season, and it is not just his club future that is up in the air. The talented midfielder now finds himself at the centre of an international tussle between England and Ivory Coast. But he may have made a big step towards signing for England after he accepted an invitation from Roy Hodgson.

The 20-year-old will now join up with the England squad ahead of the friendly against Sweden on Wednesday.

However, Zaha only accepted Hodgson's call after confirming that playing in a friendly for England would not jeopardise his chances of representing his country of birth, Ivory Coast, in the future.

It took "hours of frantic negotiations between the forward's representatives, Palace officials and the FA" before he agreed to the call-up, reports the Daily Mail.

But Zaha, who had originally been included in Stuart Pearce's England under-21 squad, may now be pressed to decide who he wants to play for in the future.

"Having taken a call from Didier Drogba only last week asking him whether he would be amenable to playing for Ivory Coast, even in next year's Africa Cup of Nations, the youngster had not anticipated having to make a decision about his international allegiance at this fledgling stage of his career," says The Guardian.

He appeared to refer to his dilemma on Twitter. On Sunday afternoon he posted a message that read: "Wow everything's happening so fast."

Zaha is now in the same boat as another young prospect, Raheem Sterling of Liverpool, who is expected to make his England debut on Wednesday. He too has yet to decide whether he wants to play for England or Jamaica.

"Hodgson is confident both players will be convinced to commit to England in the long term," says the Guardian. "Indeed, the national manager has already talked Carl Jenkinson out of pursuing a career with Finland and has received the necessary paperwork from Fifa to allow the Arsenal full-back to be granted his first opportunity with the senior side in Stockholm."

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