No ulterior motive over Zaha - Hodgson

Wilfried Zaha could still opt to play international football for the Ivory Coast

Wilfried Zaha could still opt to play international football for the Ivory Coast

First published in National Sport © by

England manager Roy Hodgson has denied he has called up rising star Wilfried Zaha in an attempt to persuade him to shun Ivory Coast.

Zaha was born in the African nation and has stated that it remains a "50-50" decision as to which country he will pledge his international allegiance. The 20-year-old, who has played for England's under-age sides, will not be bound to Hodgson's team should he appear against Sweden on Wednesday because it is not a competitive fixture.

"He has not been chosen on the basis of one short training session," Hodgson said in an interview televised on Sky Sports News. "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."

But in a veiled warning, Hodgson made it clear that he expected any player to have gone through England's under-age system to welcome a call-up to the full nation team, adding any player who did not was not welcome in his squad.

"If any players prefer to play for a national team other than England they are welcome to do so," he added. "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."

Meanwhile, Hodgson is confident Carl Jenkinson will receive international clearance in time to be involved in Wednesday's friendly.

The 20-year-old Arsenal player has represented England at Under-17 level and Finland for the Under-19 and Under-21s.

Hodgson said: "Has Jenkinson got international clearance? We think so. I think it is coming tomorrow. We are assured it is coming."

Jenkinson trained with England prior to last month's World Cup qualifier with Poland after the withdrawal of Kyle Walker through injury and Hodgson indicated he would include him against the Swedes if the green light was given by FIFA.


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