Crystal Palace winger, Wilfried Zaha insists that he has no regrets for snubbing England in order to represent his country of birth, Ivory Coast.
Why I Had To Dump England For Ivory Coast - Zaha
Zaha switched his international allegiance in 2016, despite reported overtures from Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate to reconsider, and the Crystal Palace star is now gearing up for the Africa Cup of Nations with the reigning champions.
The 24-year-old, who was born in Abidjan, made two appearances for England in friendlies against Sweden and Scotland in 2012 and 2013, respectively, meaning that he was eligible to represent the country of his birth due to never representing the European nation in a competitive fixture.
Zaha has not looked back and is happy with his decision ahead of Ivory Coast’s AFCON opener against Togo on January 16.
“I left for England and I did not return to the [Ivory Coast] so I did all my schooling in my adopted country and it was most normal that I played for the England youth teams,” he told his new team’s official website.
“For the past four years, I have had ample time to analyse my situation and to take into account the solicitations of the Ivorian Football Association. Now I have made my choice. Now I want to play with the Ivory Coast.
“It has been rewarding, firstly because I am proud to play for my country, then because the Ivorian selection has quality players and has always been a reservoir of talent. So I made the right choice and I do not regret it.”
Before Ivory Coast’s Group C opener, Zaha and Co. will finalise their preparations with an international friendly against Uganda on Wednesday.