Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha rejects call-up to the Ivory Coast national team due to homesickness

Crystal Palace star, Wilfried Zaha has turned down a call-up to the Ivory Coast national team this month and is considering retiring from international football.

Ivory Coast national team boss Patrice Beaumelle revealed on Thursday that he 28-year-old attacker gets homesick during each international break, and that is the reason why he did not name him in his 25-man squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Mozambique and Cameroon.

Zaha has played just three matches for the Elephants in 2021 and did not feature for his country in the June and September international breaks.

‘He asked not to come because he becomes home sick at each break,’ said Beaumelle after announcing his squad without Zaha in it. ‘He wants to reflect on the rest of his international career.’

Zaha has made 20 international appearances for the Ivory Coast, scoring five times since switching allegiance from England in 2016.

Zaha played youth international football for England and was called up by former Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson for friendlies against Sweden and Scotland in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

However, he was not handed an England recall for three years after his two substitute cameo appearances under Hodgson – with the winger switching allegiance to Ivory Coast when Gareth Southgate became boss.

The Crystal Palace icon was able to switch international teams as he had not played in a competitive match for England when the decision was made.

Former England boss Hodgson admitted just before the 2018 World Cup that he regretted not giving Zaha a competitive run-out to stop him from changing his allegiances.

Current England boss Southgate, meanwhile, revealed in December 2016 that he tried to discourage Zaha from picking the Ivory Coast, but to no avail.

Southgate said at the time: ‘He’s certainly somebody that I think has talent, is in a good moment with his club and ideally I’d like to talk to him before he makes that decision.

‘I would like to speak with him before we make a decision on whether we are happy to let that happen.’

Since changing his international team to the Ivory Coast, Zaha has scored 42 Premier League goals in just over 150 matches for the Eagles.

Awwal

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