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Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha explains decision to choose Ivory Coast

Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha looks dejected

Wilfried Zaha had played for England at international level.

Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha celebrates scoring their second goalWilfried Zaha celebrates one of his four league goals this campaign

Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha’s desire to play in a World Cup was central in his decision to switch international allegiance to the Ivory Coast.

Speaking to the club’s matchday programme, Zaha said he was “playing well enough to be in and around the England squad” and that the lack of recognition had convinced him to instead represent the country of his birth.

“I have goals in my life such as playing in a World Cup and winning things and I don’t want to be overlooked by a player that’s at a bigger club than me,” he elaborated.

“No matter what I did, it felt like I wouldn’t get picked, so I’ve done it to have a better international career.”

The 24-year-old also revealed that Didier Drogba and Saloman Kalou had lobbied him to play for the Ivory Coast “years ago”.

FILE PHOTO: Ivory Coast's players celebrate with the trophy after winning the African Nations Cup final soccer match against Ghana in BataIvory Coast's were the reigning Africa Cup of Nations champions

Zaha won a pair of full England caps in 2012 and 2013 but as both were in friendlies he was free to switch nations. He also played 11 times for England’s under-21s.

The decision to swap meant Zaha, who has scored four times in the Premier League this season and been one of Palace’s few impressive performers, missed a number of club matches to play in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha looks dejectedHaving come through the club's academy, Zaha is a fans' favourite

However the pre-tournament favourites were knocked out at the group stage, meaning he was back in less than a month.

He now has a relegation scrap on his hands, but Eagles fans will be delighted to see their homegrown star return, with Zaha's form seeing him consistently linked with a move to Tottenham in sources such as the Guardian.

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