West Ham defender Demel hopes to play alongside Zaha for Ivory Coast

The right-back says he would be happy to see the Crystal Palace star choose the African nation over England but insists that the 20-year-old's decision must be his own
West Ham defender Guy Demel hopes that he can play alongside Wilfried Zaha for the Ivory Coast but admits that the Crystal Palace forward's decision regarding his international allegiances must be his own.

Zaha is eligible to play for both England and Ivory Coast despite making his Three Lions debut against Sweden in Stockholm last week.

That match was classed as a 'non-competitive friendly', meaning the 20-year-old could yet choose to represent the Elephants at the Africa Cup of Nations in January.
2/1 Zaha is 2/1 to score anytime against Leeds with bet365

"I think Wilfried is a very good player now and has lots of potential to get even better as he is still very young," Demel told ESPN Star.

"Of course, as an Ivory Coast player myself it would be great for him to play for our country, but it is his decision and no one else's.

"To play for your country, you have to play with your heart. You do this at club level of course, but the difference is you have to adapt to moving on from a club at any time, so to choose the country you play for stays forever.

"You don't change every season the country you play for, so it is a big thing for him to decide and it has to be right for him.

"I think he is an intelligent boy who will know what the right decision is and if he feels he is more English - as he has been growing up here - then choosing England will be right.

"But if he feels he wants to represent his birth heritage, then playing for Ivory Coast will be his decision. No one else can choose for him, it has to be Wilfried."