Zaha called into England squad

Wilfried Zaha has been capped five times at Under-21 level

Wilfried Zaha has been capped five times at Under-21 level

First published in National Sport © by

England coach Roy Hodgson has handed a shock call-up to highly rated Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha.

The 20-year-old has been capped five times at Under-21 level and attracted the attention of a host of top clubs. Now Hodgson has recognised that quality by handing Zaha a spot in his revised squad for Wednesday's friendly with Sweden.

Zaha is joined in the squad by Carl Jenkinson, even though the FA are still awaiting official clearance from FIFA that he is eligible to play for England, plus Tottenham midfielder Tom Huddlestone.

Spurs duo Kyle Walker and Aaron Lennon are among five players to pull out through injury. Wayne Rooney and Theo Walcott suffered injuries playing for Manchester United and Arsenal on Saturday, while Liverpool's Jonjo Shelvey missed Sunday afternoon's draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

In addition, the FA said that Hodgson asked about the availability of Tottenham's Jermain Defoe and Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain but was told that Defoe - a substitute at Manchester City on Sunday - was injured and the latter not match fit, even though he featured in Saturday's draw with Fulham.

On Jenkinson, the FA said: "It is expected that the paperwork will be completed and sent through to The FA on Monday, meaning Jenkinson will be available for the match with Sweden on Wednesday night."

Hodgson could lose further members of his squad before they fly to Sweden on Tuesday. Steven Gerrard is due to win his 100th cap but Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers indicated his captain had suffered some kind of knee ligament damage at Stamford Bridge.

Should Gerrard miss out, goalkeeper Joe Hart would be in line to captain his country for the first time. While the introduction of Zaha clearly grabs the attention, Huddlestone's selection is equally notable.

The 25-year-old earned the last of his three caps against Japan during the pre-2010 World Cup warm-up in Graz. He did not make the full squad though and subsequently received only one further call-up from Fabio Capello for the Euro 2012 qualifier with Montenegro at Wembley more than two years ago.

Huddlestone has rediscovered his best form though and, having already selected Everton's Leon Osman for the first time, Hodgson is taking the opportunity to look at someone else other than Gareth Barry, who faced Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium earlier on Sunday.


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