talkSPORT host Adrian Durham has described England’s loss of Wilfried Zaha as ‘one of the biggest errors in the Football Association’s history’.
The Crystal Palace winger played regularly for England’s U21 team and earned two caps for the seniors in friendlies against Sweden and Scotland.
However, he was subsequently overlooked and eventually committed his international career to the Ivory Coast in 2016, having been born in Abidjan.
The 24-year-old, who contributes 10% of his salary to charity, recently received widespread praise for making a significant financial contribution to help Crystal Palace Ladies.
And Durham suggests Zaha’s class both on and off the pitch would’ve made him a perfect fit for Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions.
He said on Drivetime: “He’s a player who could’ve done something really special for England at a tournament. Imagine him starting for England in that semi-final [against Croatia], keeping their defenders occupied.
“We’re looking at a player who England had. He is making a massive impact at a Premier League team.
“Somehow, we didn’t manage to persuade him to stay. It’s a massive loss. To have somebody who shows his class on and off the pitch, how did England let that happen? It’s a massive error.
“You’ve got an England manager who grew up at the same football club [Palace], bemoaning that England players aren’t getting game time, and somehow Zaha was allowed to just drift away from England duty and go and play for another country.
“That’s arguably one of the biggest errors in the FA’s history.”
Zaha, however, does not regret his decision to play for the Ivory Coast after he was ‘rejected’ by the Three Lions.
He told CNN Sport in June: “It was just like I was rejected from the England side. I didn’t get picked or even get a look in for four years.
“Four years in football is a long time so it’s like there’s no regret at all. No one even thought about me at all. And Ivory Coast, even though I told them no, they still had the belief in me and still wanted me because they knew what I could do for the team.
“As for me not playing for England, I’ve got no regret at all. I’m happy with the decision I made.”