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Nov, 13, 2012

Roy Hodgson denies ulterior motives

England manager Roy Hodgson denied he called up rising star Wilfried Zaha in an attempt to persuade him to shun Ivory Coast.

Hodgson said the player had long been in his plans, revealing he had tracked him since he was boss at West Brom.

"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."

Zaha was born in Ivory Coast and, while he has traveled to Sweden for Wednesday's friendly, has stated that it remains a "50-50" decision as to which country he will pledge his international allegiance.

The 20-year-old, who has played for England's under-age sides, will not be bound to Hodgson's team should he appear Wednesday because it is not a competitive fixture.

On Monday, Hodgson made it clear that he expected any player to have gone through England's under-age system to welcome a call-up to the full nation team, adding any player who did not was not welcome in his squad.

"If any players prefer to play for a national team other than England they are welcome to do so," Hodgson said in an interview televised on 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."

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