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England boss: I wanted Zaha to play for us

GARETH SOUTHGATE admits he would have liked to pick Wilfried Zaha and made a late attempt to persuade him to stick with England before the Crystal Palace winger opted to play for the Ivory Coast.

Zaha represented the Three Lions at Under-21 level when Southgate was the boss and made two non competitive appearances for the first team before switching allegiance. ‘He was the first player I went to see when I got the job permanently but he’d already made his mind up,’ revealed Southgate.

‘The Ivory Coast had been talking to him and his family for a long time and it had been a couple of years that he had been out of the England fold.

‘We hoped to have him as an option for us but there was nothing we could do about it.’