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West Ham man to let Wilfried Zaha decide international future on his own

Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha is a target for several Premier League clubs. Photo: PA Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha is a target for several Premier League clubs. Photo: PA

Monday, November 19, 2012
7:10 AM

West Ham full back Guy Demel will not put any pressure on Crystal Palace youngster Wilfried Zaha as he tries to decide his international future.

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The 20-year-old was born in the Ivory Coast before moving to England as a child and made his first senior appearance for the Three Lions as a late substitute in the 4-2 defeat to Sweden last week.

Zaha could still change allegiance and line up for the nation of his birth as the Sweden international was not a competitive fixture, but Demel believes only Zaha can make the decision as to which nation he wants to represent permanently.

He said: “I think Wilfried is a very good player now and has lots of potential to get even better as he is still very young. Of course, as an Ivory Coast player myself it would be great for him to play for our country, but it is his decision and no one else’s.

“To play for your country, you have to play with your heart. You do this at club level of course, but the difference is you have to adapt to moving on from a club at any time, so to choose the country you play for stays forever.

“You don’t change every season the country you play for, so it is a big thing for him to decide and it has to be right for him.

“I think he is an intelligent boy who will know what the right decision is and if he feels he is more English - as he has been growing up here - then choosing England will be right, but if he feels he wants to represent his birth heritage, then playing for Ivory Coast will be his decision. No one else can choose for him, it has to be Wilfried.”

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