Crystal Palace forward Wilfred Zaha is not considering retirement from international football, according to the Daily Mail.
Ivory Coast manager Patrice Beaumelle claimed the 28-year-old rejected the latest call-up due to homesickness and to spend time reflecting on his international career.
However, this assertion might be a misinterpretation of the situation. It is alleged Zaha does not want to return sick from international duty – as he had done last month – and wishes to stay at home.
Zaha has 21 caps and five goals since making his Ivory Coast debut in 2017.
Zaha’s international future
EXCLUSIVE: Wilfried Zaha has NO plans to quit international football with Ivory Coast | @AdrianJKajumba https://t.co/44IHe0x34O
— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) November 4, 2021
Confliction claims over Zaha
Beaumelle’s claims were a surprising revelation with the World Cup qualifiers to be played and the African Cup of Nations just two months away.
The report states that the manager and Zaha agreed the forward would not participate in the up-and-coming qualifiers against Mozambique and Cameroon.
This makes the conflict between the manager and the player an odd predicament for Ivory Coast to deal with if it is true.
It is an unnecessary distraction when the country wishes to be fully focused on getting over the line concerning World Cup qualification. Ivory Coast are top of their group and have a one-point advantage over second-placed Cameroon.
In addition, this will be the final time the team meets before the African Cup of Nations takes priority. It is likely Beaumelle will want to use this time to prepare for the tournament.
With Zaha originally being expected to participate in the tournament, a quick public resolution will be needed to clear the air. He has played at the last two editions, where Ivory Coast exited the competition in the group stage on both occasions.
Nevertheless, Palace and Patrick Vieira will be handed a major boost if Beaumelle’s statement is closer to the truth. Without international duty, Zaha will be given plenty of time to rest and recover.
Palace have shown promise during the opening months of their new era under Vieira. Draws against West Ham, Leicester City and Arsenal, and their latest win against Manchester City, have displayed enough assurance they are heading in a good direction.