Southgate rues letting Zaha slip away | Kwesé

Southgate rues letting Zaha slip away

Southgate rues letting Zaha slip away

13:00 SAST | 28 Mar 2017


England manager Gareth Southgate regrets seeing Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha banging in goals for the Côte d’Ivoire.

The Abidjan-born winger grew up in the UK and represented the Three Lions at youth level, but has since switched allegiance to Les Éléphants due to a lack of call-ups by the English.

After Zaha scored for the Côte d’Ivoire in the recent friendly win over Russia, Palace chairman Steve Parish questioned why England let the 24-year-old leave in the first place.

“I know Steve’s an intelligent guy who’s done a great job for that football club,” Southgate said, but insists that the blame is not on him.

“I wouldn’t comment on his decisions and we’re both in important roles. But [Parish] is passionate about his football, his players.

“But I go back to that it was a very small timescale for me to pick [Zaha]. I didn’t really appreciate there was this disappearing egg timer on him going to the Ivory Coast, and of course I was interim manager at the point.

“I didn’t want to pick him just because there was a chance that might happen, but the first opportunity I had as permanent manager I did go and speak to [Parish].


“Wilfried was the first player I went and saw when I got the job permanently, but he’d already made his mind up to go across to the Ivory Coast.

“In the end I have to focus on players who are desperate to play for England. For me, it’s different to a club. If you feel that internal 100 percent passion for playing for England, then I’m not sure it’s for me to sell that to you. I think it should be your desire to do it.”

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