Wilfried Zaha has 'no regrets' about turning his back on England



Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2017 by Skysports.com

Wilfried Zaha has 'no regrets' about turning his back on England
Wilfried Zaha is happy to take his chance for glory with Ivory Coast

Wilfried Zaha says he has no regrets about turning his back on England in order to play for the Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Zaha switched his international allegiance last year to compete for the Ivorians, who are bidding to retain their crown at this year's tournament in Gabon, which start on Saturday.

The 24-year-old was born in Abidjan, but brought up in London from the age of four, joining Crystal Palace when he was 12 and going on to win two caps for England.

Zaha told the Ivory Coast official website:"I left for England and I did not return to the country (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.

"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."

The winger made his debut in a friendly on Sunday, coming on in the second half to set up the winner as the Ivory Coast beat Sweden 2-1 in Abu Dhabi.

He is expected to win a second cap on Wednesday when they complete their preparations with another friendly in Abu Dhabi, against fellow finalists Uganda.

"I want to be able to give the best of myself to the team and contribute with my team mates to winning more titles. I want to be able to offer the country a third Nations Cup, make Ivorians happy. That is my ambition in the short term. Then we need to qualify for the 2018 World Cup," Zaha said.

The Ivory Coast play in Group C and begin their campaign on Monday in Oyem against Togo. They will also meet the Democratic Republic of Congo and Morocco in the group stage.



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