Ivory Coast star Wilf Zaha in line to make history as first ever footballer to play for AND against England

Ivory Coast star Wilf Zaha in line to make history as first ever footballer to play for AND against England

January 29, 2022

WILFRIED ZAHA will be handed the chance to make history after the FA announced England will play Ivory Coast for the first time in March.

Crystal Palace winger Zaha can became the first England international to appear AGAINST the Three Lions in an official friendly at Wembley on March 29.

Zaha, 29, won two England caps under Roy Hodgson.

He made his debut as a replacement for Raheem Sterling in the 4-2 friendly defeat in Sweden in November 2012 and was then a late substitute for Theo Walcott in the 3-2 Wembley win over Scotland the following August.

But after falling out of the England frame, the Abidjan-born Zaha took advantage of Fifa rules allowing him to switch to the land of his birth because he had not played a competitive game for the Three Lions.

Zaha has now earned 23 caps for Ivory Coast, scoring five goals, and is currently involved in the Africa Cup of Nations where he has featured three times and bagged an assist.

England boss Gareth Southgate wanted non-European opponents for what is his only friendly before November’s World Cup kicks off in Qatar.

With the rest of the world completing their World Cup qualifying campaign, the Ivorians – eliminated by Cameroon in November and out of the March African play-offs – were the stand-out option.

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The Ivorians are also likely to include Manchester United’s Eric Bailly, AC Milan’s Spurs target Frank Kessie, Burnley’s Maxwel Cornet, Arsenal forward Nicolas Pepe and Ajax’s former West Ham frontman Sebastien Haller, top scorer with 10 goals so far in this season’s Champions League.

England have previously announced a home game with Switzerland on March 26.

Southgate’s side will then play four Nations League group games – away to Hungary and Germany before hosting Italy and the Magyars in June.

Their final pre-World Cup matches will be the remaining Nations League ties, away to Italy and then at home against the Germans, in late September.

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