Hodgson will not beg Zaha to choose England

Wilfried Zaha Crystal Palace StrikerEngland manager Roy Hodgson has insisted that Wilfried Zaha should be “thankful” to be part of the Three Lions’ squad for their friendly against Sweden.

The Crystal Palace man received a shock call-up following news that established stars such as Wayne Rooney and Theo Walcott were unfit to play.

The winger was actually born in the Ivory Coast, but has spent much of his life in England making him eligible to play for either nation.

Should he fail to make it onto the field of play Zaha will still be free to join the Ivorian set-up, but Hodgson has insisted that this will not force him to play the 20-year-old:

“If any players prefer to play for a national team other than England they are welcome to do so,

“If our national team is not strong enough motivation for them then that they are not the type of player we want anyway.

“Perhaps I naively assume that when you give a player who has played for the Under-19s and Under-21s that they would want to play for the national team.

“I’d expect them to cycle there. I’d expect they’d be thankful for the opportunity.”

Hodgson did admit that he is a big fan of Zaha and has been watching him for a long period of time:

“He has not been chosen on the basis of one short training session,

“He has been selected on the basis of the past couple of years. He was a target of West Brom when I was there. I know what qualities he brings.

“When the opportunity arose with a gap in the squad to bring him it was an obvious chance to bring him in.”

Have something to tell us about this article?