Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha has said he has no regrets switching to the Ivory Coast after being rejected from the England squad.
The 24-year-old was an England Under-21 team regular before stepping up to the senior side and earning caps against Sweden in November 2012 and Scotland in August 2013.
However since then neither Three Lions’ boss Roy Hodgson or his successors Sam Allardyce and Gareth Southgate, called Zaha up.
Having been born in the Ivorian city of Abidijan, Zaha moved to London with his parents when he was 4-years-old. At the age of 12 he was snapped up by the Eagles academy.
But now as Gareth Southgate prepares to head to Russia with his squad for the 2018 World Cup, Zaha has spoke of his decision to choose the Ivory Coast over the Three Lions – even though the The Elephants won’t be at the tournament.
“It was just like I was rejected from the England side, I didn’t get picked or even get a look in for four years,” Zaha told CNN.
“Four years in football is a long time so it’s like there’s no regret at all. No one even thought about me at all.
“Ivory Coast, even though I told them no, they still had the belief in me and still wanted me because they knew what I could do for the team… I’ve got no regret at all. I’m happy with the decision I made.”
Since returning to Palace in January 2015 from Manchester United, Zaha has shone and been named the club’s Player of the Season for the past two years as he develops into one of the Premier League’s biggest attacking threats.
He is perhaps the best player outside the Premier League’s top six with a string of talismanic displays for Crystal Palace that have attracted interest from Tottenham and Manchester City.