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European Qualifiers Group E

Zaha debut concerns Holloway

Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway has questioned the motives behind Wilfried Zaha being given his England debut against Sweden.

Last Updated: 18/11/12 at 11:56 Post Comment

Wilfried Zaha: Crystal Palace youngster made his England debut against Sweden

Wilfried Zaha: Crystal Palace youngster made his England debut against Sweden

Zaha was a late addition to England's squad for the friendly in Stockholm and was introduced for the final few minutes of the 4-2 defeat.

However, with the 20-year-old also eligible to play for the Ivory Coast, Holloway fears Zaha is being pressured into pledging his international allegiance to England.

"I would like to know the motive behind Roy Hodgson's decision to hand Wilfried Zaha his England debut during the week," wrote Holloway in his column for the Sunday Mirror.

"Was it because the England manager wanted to see how my Crystal Palace striker would handle international football just a few days after his 20th birthday?

"If so, why the hell did he give him just four minutes of action in Sweden in a friendly that had already slipped away from his team? Every other substitute got 20 minutes. And that worries me.

"I've got a horrible feeling that the reason Wilfried was given a first Three Lions cap because it was a way to pressurise a young lad into committing himself to England rather than the country of his birth.

"Wilfried was born in the Ivory Coast and moved to live in London as a four-year-old. Not surprisingly, after seeing how well he has been playing for Palace this season, Ivory Coast are also on his case with the African Nations coming up in the New Year.

"I really don't know which country Wilfried wants to play for. But I desperately hope that handing him a few minutes in Stockholm on Wednesday night was done for all the right reasons and not to press gang the lad into choosing England."

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