A FEW days ago it was revealed that England had slipped in the FIFA rankings.
As of last week Roy Hodgson’s side are only the sixth best nation in the world in football after falling a place in the standings to rising Italy.
How on earth the Euro 2012 Championship finalists were behind England anyway is a whole other argument, but a more realistic yardstick of our national side’s standing in world football was perhaps provided by a young player this weekend.
It was one of those ‘out of the mouths of babes’ moments as Crystal Palace’s 20-year-old striker Wilfried Zaha proved truly reticent rather than delighted when Hodgson called him up for England’s friendly with Sweden in Stockholm tonight.
And it was a stance that he wasn’t going to let slip, even after deciding he would take up England’s offer having been convinced that playing in a friendly would not jeopardise his chances of going on to represent Ivory Coast – the country of his birth.
Zaha diplomatically said “it’s 50-50” as to whether he will represent his adopted country England long-term or opt for Africa.
To some extent where his national pride lies will be a factor, but you have to feel that the young Eagle is rightly weighing up where his best chance of glory lies.
You have to accept that Zaha might feel an African Cup Of Nations (or which ever order the organisers are currently placing these words) winners medal would be in the offing with Côte d’Ivoire – who have produced major talents such as Drogba and the Tourés – and possibly even a better finish than England in one of the coming World Cup competitions over the next dozen years.