England coach Roy Hodgson has denied calling up Crystal Palace starlet Wilfried Zaha in an attempt to prevent him playing for the Ivory Coast. The 20-year-old, who has played for England's under-age sides, will not be bound to Hodgson's team should he appear on Wednesday because it is not a competitive fixture.
"If any players prefer to play for a national team other than England they are welcome to do so," Hodgson said to Sky Sports News.
"If our national team is not strong enough motivation for them then that they are not the type of player we want anyway.
"Perhaps I naively assume that when you give a player who has played for the Under-19s and Under-21s that they would want to play for the national team.
"I'd expect them to cycle there. I'd expect they'd be thankful for the opportunity."
Hodgson dismissed suggestions Zaha's call-up was made to try to help tie him down to England.
"He has not been chosen on the basis of one short training session," he said.
"He has been selected on the basis of the past couple of years. He was a target of West Brom when I was there.
"I know what qualities he brings.
"When the opportunity arose with a gap in the squad to bring him it was an obvious chance to bring him in."