Wilfried Zaha & Carl Jenkinson get England nod as five pull out

Wilfried Zaha

International Friendly: Sweden v England

Swedbank Arena, Stockholm
Wednesday 14 November
19:30 BST
Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live from 19:00 BST & on BBC Sport website

Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha has won his first England call-up after the withdrawal of five players from the squad to play against Sweden.

The 20-year-old is the first Championship outfield player to be called up since Jay Bothroyd in 2010.

Arsenal's Carl Jenkinson and Tottenham's Tom Huddlestone are also in the squad for Wednesday's friendly.

Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott, Jonjo Shelvey, Kyle Walker and Aaron Lennon have all been ruled out.

Zaha made his Palace debut in March 2010 and has played for England at under-19 and under-21 levels.

His sensational form this season has helped steer Palace to the top of the Championship table after 16 games and attracted interest from a host of Premier League clubs.

"Have I seen anybody like him? No, not in my whole career I haven't," Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway told BBC Football Focus.

"He does it both ways, with his left and with his right [foot]. He lures you in and teases you, and before you know it he's done something.

"It's almost like when I was growing up, with the Harlem Globetrotters. He can do it all with the ball at his feet, but he also has a modern-day athleticism that is second to none."

Crystal Palace co-chairman Stephen Browett congratulated Zaha on his call-up.

"It's a great achievement for Wilfried, who celebrated his 20th birthday on Saturday," he told BBC Sport.

"He's been at Palace since the age of 12 and we're all very proud of him. A shining advertisement for our wonderful academy."

Media playback is not supported on this device

Holloway on 'magnificent' Zaha

Zaha was born in Abidjan, Ivory Coast and moved to south London with his family when he was four years old.

According to Monday's Daily Mail, his England call-up followed two hours of "frantic negotiations" between the player's representatives and the Football Association.

Zaha was reportedly torn after taking a call from Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba on Wednesday urging him to play for the country of his birth in the Africa Cup of Nations in January.

After his place in the England squad was confirmed, Zaha said on Twitter: "Wow everything's happening so fast."

In fact, Zaha could still represent Ivory Coast even if he plays against Sweden in Wednesday's friendly and will only be tied to England once he has appeared in a competitive international.

An FA statement confirmed the changes, adding that England boss Roy Hodgson had hoped to include Tottenham's Jermain Defoe and Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in his squad. However, Defoe is injured, while Oxlade-Chamberlain is not match-fit.

Doubts were raised over whether Rooney and Walcott would be fit enough to travel to Stockholm after suffering injuries on Saturday.

Rooney went off after 79 minutes of Manchester United's 3-2 win over Aston Villa, while Walcott injured his buttock muscles in the first half of Arsenal's 3-3 draw with Fulham and was replaced with six minutes of the game remaining.

Jenkinson - who has represented Finland at Under-19 level - has started eight games in the Premier League for Arsenal this season.

Huddlestone made his England debut in 2009, but has not featured for the national team in more than two years.

Zaha will want to do better than Cardiff striker Bothroyd, who has not featured after winning a single cap against France in November 2010.

Bothroyd's call-up was the first for a Football League player since striker David Nugent in 2007.

Top Stories