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Hodgson wants Zaha committed to England

13 November 2012 20:31

Roy Hodgson has warned Wilfried Zaha to commit his international future to England amid talk he could yet decide to represent Ivory Coast.

The Crystal Palace starlet has been rewarded for his blistering start to the Championship season by receiving a call-up for England's friendly against Sweden.

Even if the 20-year-old appears in Wednesday's non-competitive fixture, he will still be able to represent Ivory Coast – the country of his birth.

But manager Hodgson believes Zaha should declare his allegiance to England.

"This is a very simple one for me," he told reporters. "If any player prefers to play for a team other than England they're welcome to do so.

"If the chance to play for our national team is not strong enough motivation for players, they're not type of players we want anyway.

"I automatically – perhaps naively – assume that, when I give a chance to a player who has played for the under-19s and under-21s, I expect him to cycle there if necessary and not only make himself available but almost thank us for the opportunity.

"He was a transfer target for West Brom when I was manager there. We followed him. I know the type of player he is and the quality he brings.

"When the opportunity arose to bring him into the squad, for me it was the obvious thing to do to ask him to come in."

Hodgson said he was delighted to be able to include fit-again Jack Wilshere in his squad after the midfielder spent 16 months on the sidelines injured.

"I spoke to Jack two months ago and he was just recovering then. I said it would be nice if he was fit enough to come along and share the journey," he said.

"He has made a quicker recovery which gives me a chance to use him for some part of the game. There was never any intention to start him and play him for 90 minutes."

Meanwhile, Hodgson hailed his captain Steven Gerrard on the eve of him winning his 100th cap - becoming just the sixth England player to do so.

"It's obviously a fantastic achievement. Everyone can understand that. But, anyone who's played 100 times for England has got to have done a lot for their country over a long period of time," he said.

"But in particular, of course, I'm grateful for the time we've spent together since I was offered the job and since I asked Steven to be captain of the team.

"I've been really pleased with the relationship, I've been very pleased with the football that he's played and exceptionally pleased with the leadership qualities he's brought to the group.

"The fact that he's always prepared to give the young players the benefit of his experience and often can come to them as well with a wise word or a comforting word at times when they need it, so he's done a fantastic job."

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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 18 +27 45
2 18 +24 42
3 18 +14 35
4 18 +17 32
5 18 +8 31
6 18 +10 30
7 18 +0 30
8 18 +4 28
9 18 -2 25
10 18 -7 23
11 18 -4 22
12 18 -1 21
13 18 -11 20
14 18 -11 19
15 18 -8 17
16 18 -13 17
17 18 -7 16
18 18 -10 15
19 18 -15 15
20 18 -15 10

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