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Zaha says he never reconsidered Ivory Coast future after coach's comments

FOOTBALL By Reuters | November 6th 2021
Ivory Coast's forward Wilfried Zaha reacts during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) quarter final football match between Ivory Coast and Algeria at the Suez stadium in Suez on July 11, 2019. (AFP)

Wilfried Zaha has hit back at reports that the Ivory Coast winger was considering his international future, saying he is not in the squad after picking up a viral infection.

Ivory Coast coach Patrice Beaumelle did not pick Zaha for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers, saying the 28-year-old Crystal Palace player opted out and wanted to "reflect on the rest of his international career".

However, Zaha said that was not the case and representing his country was something he would "never, ever take for granted".

"Despite numerous press reports, I have never said at any time that I am reconsidering my international playing future," Zaha wrote on Instagram.

"During the last international fixtures I picked up a viral infection while travelling and was ill when I returned, unable to train and was forced to miss Crystal Palace's game against Arsenal.

"As I don't feel fully recovered, I spoke to the manager and asked his permission to miss the next two games.

"I will, of course, be available and present if I'm selected for future games and wish the team every success in the next two matches and qualification for the World Cup."

Palace boss Patrick Vieira also said he was surprised by the comments.

"He made it clear to myself, talking to him, about how much he loves playing for the Ivory Coast national team, how proud it will be for him to be at the World Cup with Ivory Coast," Vieira told reporters.

"What I know is that he still wants to go to internationals ... I will support him."

Ivory Coast will also be involved in the Africa Cup of Nations that begins in January.

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