• Internationals

Sturridge backs Zaha to shine for England

ESPN staff
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Daniel Sturridge has been impressed with Wilfried Zaha's skills in training with the England squad © Getty Images
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Daniel Sturridge has backed Wilfried Zaha to thrive with the England squad after the Crystal Palace striker recieved a shock call-up on Sunday night.

The Chelsea forward, who will be eyeing a starting role in Roy Hodgson's line-up after the withdrawal of Wayne Rooney and Theo Walcott on Sunday, has been impressed with the 20-year-old in training, and has even had to ward off the attentions of former team-mate Didier Drogba, who is keen to lure Zaha to playing for the Ivory Coast.

"I've watched him play a few times and he's a very talented player, he was sharp in training today, he's got a lot of skills and he can bring a lot to the table," Sturridge said. "I'm looking forward to playing with him."

Sturridge revealed that he had spoken with Drogba about Zaha at the weekend, before the Crystal Palace man's call-up had been confirmed by the FA.

Zaha, who has five caps for the England Under-21 side, would be eligible to switch to the Ivory Coast until he plays a competitive match for the Three Lions, but Sturridge remains hopeful that he will commit to England.

"Every country wants the best players capable of playing for them," Sturridge added. "Obviously we want him to play for England. The manager's picked him to be involved in the squad, and he's taken the opportunity to see how the set-up is. He told me he's been here since he was four years old, the majority of his life.

"I think whichever decision he makes will be right for him as a person but everybody would love him to play for England and it would be great if he could.

And Sturridge harbours no fears about Zaha making the step up from the Championship to the England team.

"It's a great vote of confidence," Sturridge said. "That just shows the players that, if they do play in the Championship, if they work hard and if they train and play well in their games, the manager will give them the opportunity.

"It's fantastic for him that he's been picked for the squad. I'm sure that's given him a lot of confidence and put a smile on his face."

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