Soccer

Drogba to thwart Eng plans?

2012-11-12 19:23
Didier Drogba (File)

Manchester - Didier Drogba is involved in a tug of war with England over winger Wilfried Zaha, who has just been selected to play for Roy Hodgson's side but is also eligible for the Ivory Coast.

Zaha, who has been included in England's squad for a friendly in Sweden this week even though he is only 20-years-old and plays for Crystal Palace in the Championship, the division below the English Premier League, is a man in demand.

He is tipped to play at least some part against Sweden in Stockholm on Wednesday but can also choose the Ivory Coast as an alternative having been born in Abidjan.

England striker Daniel Sturridge is an admirer of the winger, whose four goals so far this season have helped Palace to the top of the Championship.

However, Sturridge fears former Chelsea team-mate Drogba, the Ivory Coast captain, could yet have an influence on Zaha.

Sturridge, speaking at a press conference Monday in Manchester where the England team are training before flying to Sweden, said of Zaha: "I have watched him a few times and he's a very talented player and he was very sharp in training today.

"I know Didier is going to try and get him to play for the Ivory Coast. I saw Didier this week and I'm sure he will do that because every country wants the best players who are eligible to play for them.

"But obviously for us we want him to play for England. The manager has picked him to be involved in the squad and I'm sure he'll take it as an opportunity.

"He's told me he's been here in England since he was four-years-old; so he's been here for the majority of his life.

"Whichever decision he makes has to be right for him as a person but I think everybody here would love him to play for England."

Zaha, who has caps for both England Under-19s and England Under-21s, is not the only new name in Hodgson's latest squad.

The manager has also included 31-year-old Everton midfielder Leon Osman, and the new call-ups may well get an opportunity to play after the likes of Wayne Rooney, Aaron Lennon, Kyle Walker, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jermain Defoe were all ruled out because of injury.

Meanwhile England are sending captain Steven Gerrard, who hopes to win his 100th cap in Stockholm, for a precautionary scan on a knee injury - but the Liverpool midfielder has said he is hopeful of being fit.

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