Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson revealed his regret regret over failing to tie Wilfried Zaha’s international allegiance to England following the winger’s brace against Brighton and Hove Albion.
The Abidjan-born forward made two appearances for England under Hodgson’s ill-fated stewardship before opting for a switch to Ivory Coast in 2016.
He has since blossomed into a key force for Palace, leading the way in the crucial 3-2 victory on Saturday that lifted his side six points clear of the drop zone.
With three goals in his last two Premier League appearances and seven in total for the season, Hodgson conceded he erred in not ensuring Zaha’s loyalties rested with England.
“I gave him his [international] debut as a Crystal Palace player, he got a big move to Manchester United so we didn’t follow up on it enough. I would have to say I bear some responsibility there,” said Hodgson.
“To be honest he’d have been more than happy to play for England. I think he was just seduced by the Ivory Coast and part of the seduction was ‘you won’t play a lot of games for England, so sign for us instead’.
“But there are moments in time for footballers. Let’s be fair. At the moment, this season, Wilf has been in superb form. But there were years before, especially the United years, where perhaps he wasn’t the Wilf Zaha you see today.
“Unfortunately national team selectors and football coaches don’t have crystal balls. We can’t be certain.”