Zaha handed England call-up

11 November 2012

Wilfried Zaha has been handed a shock call-up to England’s squad for their friendly against Sweden on Wednesday with Wayne Rooney ruled out.

The Manchester United striker joins Theo Walcott, Jonjo Shelvey, Kyle Walker and Aaron Lennon on the treatment table and after Hodgson’s initial choices of Jermain Defoe and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain proved fruitless due to fitness injuries, the 65-year-old’s attentions turned to Crystal Palace’s Zaha, while Carl Jenkinson and Tom Huddlestone have also been added to the party.

Zaha, 20, has been one of the star performers in the Championship this season at Selhurst Park and has caught the eye of several Premier League clubs with his pace, dribbling skills and an eye for goal that has seen him score four times and lay on more to help Palace to the top of the division.

Palace academy manager Gary Issott told the Eagles’ official website: “Everyone at the club is delighted by the news. Wilfried’s having a fantastic season and is becoming the player we all knew he would.

"He is a wonderful talent and this recognition makes us hugely proud of him and the work we do producing young players at this club.

"His call up shows the benefits of starting your career at a club that is committed to giving young players a chance in the first team."

Hodgson has not been shy to hand unexpected call-ups to young players since Euro 2012 with the likes of Ryan Bertrand, Steven Caulker, Tom Cleverley, Shelvey, Raheem Sterling, Adam Lallana and Jake Livermore all being surprisingly selected for recent matches.


Eye injury forces Ronaldo out of Portugal friendly

12 November 2012

Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo has been forced out of Wednesday’s international friendly against Gabon.

The Real Madrid suffered an eye injury in the opening stages of the Spanish side’s 2-1 La Liga win over Levante on Sunday, and was taken off at half-time as a result of the problem.

"He’s dizzy. In the first half he was unable to see properly with that eye, but during the break he couldn’t see properly with either," Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho said after the match.

"So it was impossible for him to continue. When he gets to Madrid he will go to hospital to have the tests he needs."

The prolific goalscorer has opted not to take any risks and will remain in Madrid to recover rather than represent the national side this midweek.

Valencia defender Joao Pereira and Dynamo Kiev midfielder Miguel Veloso have also pulled out of the squad because of injuries.


Clichy withdraws from France squad

12 November 2012

Manchester City left-back Gael Clichy has pulled out of the France squad to face Italy on Wednesday with a lower back problem.

The defender played the full 90 minutes in City’s 2-1 comeback win over Tottenham in the Premier League on Sunday with no sign of injury.

Bordeaux defender Benoit Tremoulinas has been called up as Clichy’s replacement for the 26-year-old’s second spell with Les Bleus squad following a selection by former head coach Laurent Blanc in 2010.

The attack-minded left-back is yet to make his international debut, and failed to represent France at youth level.

A statement on the French Football Federation’s websiteread: “After discussion between the doctors of Manchester City and the France national team, Didier Deschamps has accepted the withdrawal of the Manchester City defender.

"The coach has called up Bordeaux’s Benoit Tremoulinas to join the group of players called up to play against Italy in Parma."

Clichy’s withdrawal comes following a number of similar moves by other Premier League players, with five ruling themselves out of the England squad alone.

Robin van Persie will also not travel with the Netherlands squad after pulling out with a thigh injury after playing for the duration of Manchester United’s 3-2 win over Aston Villa on Saturday.