• England Football

Hodgson: Zaha must be 'thankful' for England chance

ESPN staff
November 14, 2012
Wilfried Zaha could feature for England in Stockholm © PA Photos

Roy Hodgson expects Wilfried Zaha to be fully committed to England after the winger was given a surprise call-up for Wednesday's international friendly against Sweden.

Zaha, 20, is being courted by the country of his birth, the Ivory Coast, and playing in the Stockholm clash will not affect his eligibility to make the switch from the England camp. However, Hodgson insists he has received an assurance from the Crystal Palace man regarding his allegiances.

"It is very simple for me. England, for me, is very important. To be asked to play for England is a major honour and a major feather in people's caps. I am not interested in people who are deciding whether England is where they want to be or whether they want to be somewhere else.

I have a simple attitude towards it. When people are called up I expect them to come running, get on a bicycle and cycle to the training session if they have to. Then they shake hands with everyone and tell everyone how happy they are to be there.

"There is all this nonsense about players receiving phone calls and being enticed away. If they are going to be enticed away, they will be enticed away. But if they are being enticed away they are not the right player for us.

"I spoke to [Wilfried] before he joined up. I explained to him we were interested in him, but only if he was interested in us. He assured me he was. He has played for England at Under-21 and Under-19s.

"It seems to me fairly obvious if you want to play for the Under-19s and Under-21s, and are very happy to accept a call-up to the first national team, then that is where you want to play. Perhaps I am too simple. He has told me that is what he wants to do," Hodgson said.

Meanwhile, Hodgson moved to ease the fears of Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger over Jack Wilshere. The England boss says he will not over-exert the midfielder following his recent comeback from a long-term ankle injury.

"There is no arrangement [regarding Wilshere]," he said. "I'm a bit surprised and pleased we've got him because when I spoke to him two months ago, he was just recovering them and starting to train.

"I said to him then it would be nice in November if he was fit enough to come along and share the journey with us.

"But he has made a quicker recovery than that, he is back in the team and has played three games already so it gives me the chance to use him in some part of the game.

"But there was never intention at this stage of Jack's recovery to start him in the game and play him for 90 minutes.

"I explained that to Arsene, who was concerned, so he was perfectly happy for him to be here."

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