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Zaha celebrates birthday with call-up

12 November 2012, 17:08

England -  Wilfried Zaha became only the second Championship outfield player in five years to be called up by England when the forward was added to the squad for Wednesday's friendly against Sweden following the withdrawal of five players at the weekend.

Zaha, who turned 20 on Saturday, has helped Crystal Palace rise to the top of the second tier, and was joined by Arsenal defender Carl Jenkinson and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Tom Huddlestone after Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott, Jonjo Shelvey, Kyle Walker and Aaron Lennon were all ruled out.

Jenkinson, who has made eight starts for Arsenal in the Premier League this season, is included after gaining Fifa clearance to play after previously representing Finland as a youth international on the basis of his mother's nationality.

Huddlestone, who made his England debut in 2009, gets his first call up for two years.

Zaha, who has played five times for the Under-21s, is the first Championship outfield player to be called up for England since striker Jay Bothroyd, then of Cardiff City, in 2010.

Preston North End striker David Nugent was the previous lower-division player to be called up, in 2007.

Crystal Palace co-chairman Stephen Browett told BBC Sport: "It's a great achievement for Wilfried, who celebrated his 20th birthday on Saturday."

An FA statement confirmed the changes for the friendly in Stockholm, adding that England boss Roy Hodgson had hoped to include Tottenham's Jermain Defoe and Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in his party.

However, Defoe is injured, while Oxlade-Chamberlain is not match fit.

- Reuters

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