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‘Zaha loves playing for Ivory Coast’ – Vieira surprised by Beaumelle's comments about Crystal Palace star

17:23 GMT 05/11/2021
Wilfried Zaha, Ivory Coast
The 28-year-old has not summoned for the Elephants' World Cup qualifying games against Mozambique and Cameroon in the coming days

Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira said Wilfried Zaha is always ready to play for Ivory Coast and he was surprised to see reports the winger was contemplating his international future.

On Thursday, Ivory Coast coach Patrice Beaumelle claimed Zaha requested to be dropped from the national team that will face Mozambique and Cameroon for their 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifiers on November 13 and 16, respectively.

Last month, the pacy winger saw 74 minutes of action as the Elephants defeated Malawi 2-1 in a Group D qualifying game.

Vieira, in a press conference on Friday, dismissed the reports by stating Zaha's love for the West African country and his ambition of helping Ivory Coast qualify for the World Cup in Qatar.

"Wilfried still wants and still hopes to go to international," Vieira was quoted as saying by Football London.

"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 the World Cup with Ivory Coast.

“He still wants to go to the international stage, so I was quite surprised to see all these comments coming out in the last couple of days."

Zaha featured at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt for Ivory Coast, where he scored two goals in four appearances.

The Elephants will play in the next edition in Cameroon in January and Vieira is ready to release him if he gets an invitation.

"What I know is that he still wants to go to international, so we will support and I will support him,” he said. "It's up to the manager to make the decision about who he will call."

After announcing his latest squad on Thursday, Beaumelle said Zaha complains of being sick after travelling to Africa.

“He asked not to come because he comes home sick after each meeting,” the Frenchman said.

“He wants to reflect on the rest of his international career. I want soldiers, warriors who even with one knee on the ground will come to the selection.

"It is a message that I send loud and clear to each player."