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Zaha handed England call-up

12 November 2012 02:41

Wilfried Zaha has been handed a shock call-up to England's squad for their friendly against Sweden on Wednesday with Wayne Rooney ruled out.

The Manchester United striker joins Theo Walcott, Jonjo Shelvey, Kyle Walker and Aaron Lennon on the treatment table and after Hodgson's initial choices of Jermain Defoe and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain proved fruitless due to fitness injuries, the 65-year-old's attentions turned to Crystal Palace's Zaha, while Carl Jenkinson and Tom Huddlestone have also been added to the party.

Zaha, 20, has been one of the star performers in the Championship this season at Selhurst Park and has caught the eye of several Premier League clubs with his pace, dribbling skills and an eye for goal that has seen him score four times and lay on more to help Palace to the top of the division.

Palace academy manager Gary Issott told the Eagles' official website: "Everyone at the club is delighted by the news. Wilfried's having a fantastic season and is becoming the player we all knew he would.

"He is a wonderful talent and this recognition makes us hugely proud of him and the work we do producing young players at this club.

"His call up shows the benefits of starting your career at a club that is committed to giving young players a chance in the first team."

Hodgson has not been shy to hand unexpected call-ups to young players since Euro 2012 with the likes of Ryan Bertrand, Steven Caulker, Tom Cleverley, Shelvey, Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana and Jake Livermore all being surprisingly selected for recent matches.

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