Roy Hodgson has admitted that England considering handing a call-up to Wilfried Zaha before opting to pick Jesse Lingard.
Zaha has not played for England since August 2013, but has been in positive form for Crystal Palace so far this season and some expected him to receive a call-up after Jamie Vardy and Michael Carrick withdrew from the squad.
Manchester United winger Lingard was chosen instead however, despite playing just 193 minutes of Premier League football throughout his career.
“We did consider him, yes,” Hodgson said of Crystal Palace’s Zaha.
“He came in a similar type of player. They’re both wingers. We did consider him, but we decided on Jesse.”
Hodgson also confirmed that United manager Louis van Gaal had offered his blessing over the decision to call on Lingard.
In an attempt to play down expectations surrounding the Manchester United winger, Van Gaal said nine days ago that Lingard was not ready to play at international level.
Speaking after Lingard had scored his first goal for United against West Brom, Van Gaal said: “I would say it is too much too early. “We have to wait to see if he is consistent.”
Despite Van Gaal’s warning, Hodgson called the 22-year-old into his squad for Tuesday’s friendly against France.
Hodgson explained the decision was taken purely because his squad had been ravaged by injury and called Van Gaal before adding Lingard to his party to make sure the United manager had no problem with it.
“I don’t think he was wrong to say that (about Lingard),” the England manager said of Van Gaal.
“Under normal circumstances, we wouldn’t have been considering Jesse Lingard at this time, even though he’s a very interesting player. I can understand why he said that.
“But the situation has changed enormously. He (Van Gaal) gave his blessing without any problem whatsoever. It would be unfair pushing that back on him.”
Hodgson hoped this month’s friendlies against Spain and France would give him the opportunity to gauge how far his team have come since the World Cup.
But he was not able to field his first XI in the 2-0 defeat to Spain in Alicante last Friday and it will be the same case again on Tuesday when England host France at Wembley.
Some 16 regulars are absent through injury. The latest man to fall by the wayside is Fabian Delph, who has returned to Manchester City because of fatigue.
Jamie Vardy and Michael Carrick went back to their clubs on Sunday, so Lingard will probably earn his first cap on Tuesday – but it will more than likely be as a substitute.
Hodgson confirmed six players under 22 would start against the French. That means Eric Dier and Dele Alli are likely to make their full debuts.
John Stones, Harry Kane, Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling are also likely to feature.
Wayne Rooney will start after being left on the bench in Spain.
Hodgson hopes his inexperienced team will not get caught up in the emotion of Tuesday’s game, which comes just four days after Paris was hit by a series of deadly terrorist attacks
“Many of the XI will be young, some making debuts even,” he said.
“It’ll be a big night for them. We mustn’t forget that’s an important moment for them, and we want them to enjoy playing football.
“I hope when the whistle goes it’ll be about football – the French trying to beat us, and us them. But, around that, the discussion and thoughts are around the fact this game is being played.”