Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha has chosen to play international football for the Ivory Coast, despite previously earning two caps for England. 

The 24-year-old decided to switch his allegiance to the country of his birth on Sunday after being approached by the Ivorian Football Federation.

Zaha made 13 appearances for England under-21s before playing two friendlies for the senior team against Sweden in November 2012, and against Scotland in August 2013.

But since he was never capped in a competitive game by the Three Lions he is has decided instead to make himself available for the Ivory Coast.

The Ivorian Football Federation (FIF) statement read: “The Ivorian-English attacking midfielder Wilfried Zaha has chosen to play for the Elephants, under the colours of the Ivory Coast, his country of origin.

“The player has sent, on this Sunday November 27 2016, correspondence to FIFA to change his national team.

“Approached several weeks ago by the Federation Ivoirienne de Football (FIF), Wilfried Zaha has made his choice this Sunday in London.


“In the presence of his father, of Augustin Sidy Diallo (president of the FIF) and Michel Dussuyer (Elephants coach), he signed at the bottom of the demand to change his sporting nationality addressed to Fifa.

“Born on November 10 in Abidjan, Wilfried Zaha grew up in England, the country for which he made two appearances in friendly matches. However, the Crystal Palace player remains eligible to play for the Ivory Coast.”

Zaha was born in the capital of the Ivory Coast before moving to England as a child, where he has picked up by Palace’s academy aged 12.

Having moved to Manchester United in 2013, he re-joined his boyhood club two years later and has impressed this season, scoring two goals and registering five assists in the Premier League this season.

Speaking on Friday before the announcement Palace manager Alan Pardew suggested Zaha’s decision was born of frustration by the lack of recognition from England.

“It’s a situation that’s been pushed forward probably by his agent or people around him. I think Wilf is hoping England come in for him,” he said, as reported by Sky Sports.

“I can understand his frustration. He’s played with players who are picked at that level, and feels he deserves another chance.”


Culled from Squawka