Zaha earns shock England call

Wilfried Zaha
Zaha (left) has shown explosive form this season to help guide Crystal Palace into the Championship promotion places. Photo: PA

Crystal Palace striker Wilfried Zaha will be trying to join an exclusive club in Sweden this week.

With Wayne Rooney ruled out through injury, and an attempt to call up Jermain Defoe also blocked, Roy Hodgson plumped for 20-year-old Zaha rather than Andy Carroll for England's friendly in Stockholm.

It puts Zaha in line to become one of the small number of outfield players who have featured for the Three Lions despite playing outside the top division.

The last man to do it was Jay Bothroyd, who was at Cardiff when he played against France in November 2010. Prior to that, David Nugent scored in the World Cup win over Andorra in March 2007.

Zaha's promise has been evident for some time though.

The 20-year-old has been capped five times at Under-21 level and attracted the attention of a host of top clubs.

"Wow, everything's happening so fast," said Zaha on Twitter last night.

In addition, Zaha is joined by Carl Jenkinson, even though the FA are still awaiting official clearance from FIFA that he is eligible to play for England, plus Tottenham midfielder Tom Huddlestone.

Spurs duo Kyle Walker and Aaron Lennon are amongst five players to pull out through injury.

Wayne Rooney and Theo Walcott suffered injuries playing for Manchester United and Arsenal on Saturday, whilst Liverpool's Jonjo Shelvey missed yesterday's draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

In addition, the FA said Hodgson asked about the availability of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain but was told the teenager was not match fit, even though he featured in yesterday's draw with Fulham.

On Jenkinson, the FA said: "It is expected that the paperwork will be completed and sent through to The FA on Monday, meaning Jenkinson will be available for the match with Sweden on Wednesday night."

It is not beyond the realms of possibility Hodgson could lose further members of his squad before they fly to Scandinavia.

Steven Gerrard is due to win his 100th cap but Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers indicated his captain had suffered some kind of knee ligament damage at Chelsea.

Should Gerrard miss out, goalkeeper Joe Hart would be in line to captain his country for the first time.