IVORIAN winger Wilfried Zaha has warned his Crystal Palace team mate Ebere Eze that he will be making a grave mistake opting for England ahead of Nigeria at international level as the Three Lions will not guarantee him any longevity.
Ebere, 22, has been the subject of a tug of war between Nigeria and England, with both nations desperately fighting for the services of the mercurial playmaker. Having already played for the England U21 team competitively, Ebere will need to undergo a switch through Fifa before he is eligible to feature for Nigeria’s Super Eagles.
It appears that Ebere may be holding out for a senior England call-up and if manager Gareth Southgate caps him, that would end the matter. Already, the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) president Amaju Pinnick has met with Ebere in London and Super Eagles head coach Gernot Rohr has asked the player to apply for Fifa clearance before he can invite him to camp.
With Eze, the mercurial playmaker still undecided, Zaha has warned him that opting for England would be a grave mistake as he would be used once or twice and dumped. Recalling his own experience, Zaha, said he was used in two friendly matches against Sweden in 2012 and Scotland in 2013 and that was the end of his international career with England.
After not hearing from England for over three years, Zaha subsequently applied for a Fifa switch and after it was granted, featured for Ivory Coast in the 2017 African Cup of Nations. Since then, Zaha has gone on to win 18 caps for Ivory Coast, scoring five goals in the process, making him one of the mainstays of the Elephants’ attack.
Zaha said: “It was like I was rejected from the England side as I did not get picked or even get a look-in for your years. Four years is a long time, so it is not like there is no regret at all.
“No one even thought about me at all. With Ivory Coast, even though I told them no, they still had the belief in me and still wanted me because they knew what I could do for the team, so as for me not playing for England, I have no regrets at all and I’m happy with the decision I made.”
Eze and Zaha are arguably Crystal Palace’s best two players, helping the team to 13th in the English Premier league table. Between them, the two forwards have scored 12 of Palace’s 27 goals so far this season.