Zaha camp come out firing

Crystal Palace
Wilfried Zaha still wants out of Crystal Palace.

Wilfried Zaha's camp has hit out at suggestions he is not committed to playing for Ivory Coast, insisting there are valid reasons for his current absence.

The Crystal Palace talisman pulled out of the squad ahead of the 2-1 friendly defeat to Benin and will also be unavailable for Tuesday’s match against Tunisia.

Zaha’s absence has added a further hindrance to coach Kamara Ibrahim, who is also without the likes of Nicolas Pepe, Eric Bailly and Jean-Philippe Gbamin.

It was Ibrahim who confirmed the news, prompting further questions about the 26-year-old’s willingness to play for his country.

Zaha’s first international appearances came for England, playing through the age groups before earning two caps for the full squad.

However, with both of those appearances coming in friendly matches, the Abidjan-born star was still available to be called up by the country of his birth. He has since won 14 caps, playing at both the 2017 and 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

Despite netting four goals in that time, the time in which he took to declare has led to suggestions the former Manchester United man is not entirely committed to the cause when it comes to representing Les Elephants.

This latest withdrawal has further stoked the ire of the Ivorian public, especially with him expected to feature for Palace on Saturday at Tottenham.

Speaking to the Abidjan Show, via Sport Witness, a source close to the player rubbished talk that he is reluctant to play for his country, insisting his absence was down to him having “several urgent things to settle”.

The person also launched a staunch defence, adding: “So, why when Wilfried excuses an absence, is it said that he boycotts the selection? Let people stop denigrating him because they do not know anything about him.”

After a summer of speculation, Zaha has played in all five of the Eagles’ matches so far this season and is yet to score, although he did pick up a yellow card in the shock 2-1 win at Old Trafford.