ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Wilfred Zaha belatedly began training with Ivory Coast on Friday ahead of their African Nations Cup finals campaign, effectively dashing England’s hopes of him backtracking on his switch of allegiance.
Zaha travelled to the team’s training camp in the United Arab Emirates after scoring for Crystal Palace in Tuesday’s 2-1 home loss to Swansea City.
Born in Abidjan, Zaha has won two England caps but both in friendly internationals and not been picked over the last three years.
England manager Gareth Southgate met Zaha last month in a bid to convince him of the potential of future England appearances. Sunderland defender Lamine Kone also arrived in Abu Dhabi on Thursday but only after first travelling to Paris for a medical test, the Ivorian Football Federation said.
The Ivorians open the defence of their title in Oyem against Togo on Jan. 16.
Squad: Goalkeepers: Sylvain Gbohou (TP Mazembe Englebert), Badra Ali Sangare (AS Tanda), Mande Sayouba (Stabaek) Defenders: Serge Aurier (Paris St Germain), Mamadou Bagayoko (St Truiden), Eric Bailly (Manchester United), Simon Deli (Slavia Prague), Wilfried Kanon (ADO Den Haag), Lamine Kone (Sunderland), Adama Traore (Basle) Midfielders: Victorien Angban (Granada), Cheik Doukoure (Metz), Franck Kessie (Atalanta), Yao Serge Nguessan (Nancy), Jean Michael Seri (Nice), Geoffroy Serey Die (Basle) Forwards: Wilfried Bony (Stoke City), Max Alain Gradel (Bournemouth), Salomon Kalou (Hertha Berlin), Jonathan Kodjia (Aston Villa), Nicolas Pepe (Angers), Giovanni Sio (Stade Rennes), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace).
Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty