Wilfried Zaha has decided to play international football for Ivory Coast after failing to add to the two England caps he won in friendlies.

The announcement comes ahead of the African Cup of Nations, which is being played in the middle of the Premier League season in January.

The 24-year-old Crystal Palace winger 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.

But because neither match was a competitive fixture, Zaha has been able to commit to the Ivory Coast, the country’s national football association announced on Sunday.

It announced in a statement: “The Ivorian-English attacking midfielder Wilfried Zaha has chosen to play for the Elephants, under the colours of the Ivory Coast, his country of origin. The player has sent, on this Sunday November 27 2016, correspondence to FIFA to change his national team.

“In the presence of his father, of Augustin Sidy Diallo (president of the FIF) and Michel Dussuyer (Elephants coach), he signed at the bottom of the demand to change his sporting nationality addressed to FIFA.

“Born on November 10 in Abidjan, Wilfried Zaha grew up in England, the country of which he made two appearances in friendly matches. However the Crystal Palace player remains eligible to play for the Ivory Coast.”


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