Zaha wants to play for England not Ivory Coast, insists Hodgson

20:06 13 November 2012

England

England's Wilfried Zaha in training at the Friends Arena in Sweden tonight. Photo credit: Owen Humphreys/PA wire

Roy Hodgson insists he only wants players who are 100 per cent committed to playing for England after selecting Wilfried Zaha in the squad for tomorrow evening’s friendly encounter with Sweden in Stockholm.

The Crystal Palace winger is also wanted to play for the Ivory Coast - the country of his birth - and inclusion for a non-competitive international will not affect his eligibility.

Zaha has assured Hodgson he wants to represent England but second thoughts or doubts from any player about taking up such an honour would in any case receive short shrift from the head coach.

Hodgson said: “It is very simple for me. England, for me, is very important. To be asked to play for England is a major honour and a major feather in people’s caps.

“I am not interested in people who are deciding whether England is where they want to be or whether they want to be somewhere else.

“I have a simple attitude towards it. When people are called up I expect them to come running, get on a bicycle and cycle to the training session if they have to.

“Then they shake hands with everyone and tell everyone how happy they are to be there.

“There is all this nonsense about players receiving phone calls and being enticed away.

“If they are going to be enticed away, they will be enticed away. But if they are being enticed away they are not the right player for us.”

As regards Zaha’s commitment, Hodgson said: “I spoke to him before he joined up. I explained to him we were interested in him, but only if he was interested in us.

“He assured me he was. He has played for England at Under-21 and Under-19s.

“It seems to me fairly obvious if you want to play for the Under-19s and Under-21s, and are very happy to accept a call-up to the first national team, then that is where you want to play.

“Perhaps I am too simple. He has told me that is what he wants to do.”

Hodgson admits Zaha was a transfer target during his spell as West Brom manager.

He said: “Wilfried has been chosen because I’ve watched him over the last couple of years.

“He was a transfer target for West Brom when I was manager there.

“We followed him and I know the type of player he is, the qualities that he brings and, when an opportunity arose with a gap in our squad, it was the obvious thing to ask him to come in.”

Related articles

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest Crystal Palace news

A TV camera films the action during the Barclays Premier League  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

The general manager of Bundesliga club Mainz is becoming increasingly concerned that the English Premier League is going to threaten clubs like his.

Edin Dzeko and Aleksander Mitrovic

It has been a busy Sunday in the capital. Check out all of today’s main stories here:

QPR winger Matt Phillips

QPR want £25million for duo Charlie Austin and Matt Phillips this summer.

Crystal Palace's Selhurst Park home. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

Crystal Palace have handed a trial spell to AFC Wimbledon striker Daniel Agyei, according to reports.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Good times with Greenall's!

Good times with Greenall’s, a Great British gin sponsors Great British racing.

Read more
Escape to the picturesque sights of Cornwall

Summer is finally here, and what is the number one holiday location in the UK during the warmer months? Cornwall, of course!

Read more
Adrenalin junkies, this one's for you!

An icon of British engineering and a consistent favourite of James Bond, there are few names quite as legendary in motoring as Aston Martin.

Read more