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Wilfried Zaha named in provisional Ivory Coast squad

Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha has been named in the Ivory Coast's provisional squad for the African Nations Cup.

Zaha has previously earned two caps for England in friendly matches. Credit: PA

Zaha has previously earned two caps for England but as both came in friendly matches he is free to play for the country of his birth.

The 24-year-old recently decided to switch allegiance having grown frustrated at his lack of England recognition, with his last cap coming in 2013 .

Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate has since indicated that he would like Zaha to remain eligible for England.

But Southgate will have to wait to see if Zaha answers the Ivory Coast's call for the tournament, which begins in Gabon next month.

If he does decide to participate then struggling Palace will be without one of their star performers this season for up to six weeks.

Manchester United defender Eric Bailly is also in the 24-man squad.

Pardew warns former Man United winger about form

Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew has told Wilfried Zaha to forget about his Championship form with the club, insisting the winger needs to raise his game if he wants to make it in the top flight.

Pardew wants Zaha to raise his game. Credit: PA

Zaha made his loan stay at Palace permanent on the last day of the transfer window, re-signing from Manchester United for an initial fee of £3million.

The 22-year-old made just four first-team appearances at Old Trafford and struggled to reproduce the displays that saw him named Championship Player of the Year in 2013.

I hope I can get him back to his best but those games weren't in the Premier League.

It's a higher standard and he's going to have to raise his game because we've got real competition in that area of the team at the moment.

Obviously he didn't start at Everton - this isn't the Championship where he was a star. This is a level up and he needs to be a star at this level.

– Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew


Hodgson has no doubts about Zaha's commitment

Wilfried Zaha, pictured playing for England Under 21s, was born in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Credit: PA

Roy Hodgson says questions about the commitment of wonder-kid Wilfried Zaha, who is elgible to play for both England and the Ivory Coast, are "nonsense."

He said: "I spoke to him 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."