Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha returns to individual training in London after AFCON heartbreak

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Wilfried Zaha is looking to put behind Ivory Coast’s AFCON heartbreak behind him and get back to form with the Eagles.

Wilfried Zaha has put the heartbreak of crashing out of the AFCON behind him, and returned to training at his base in south London.

The former Manchester United man has returned from Cameroon during the Premier League’s mini winter break, but LondonWorld understands he hit the gym on Friday to maintain his shape and competitiveness.

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The 29-year-old forward was hoping to inspire his country to the AFCON trophy, but Egypt had other ideas with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah scoring the all important penalty kick.

In what was his third AFCON tournament, Zaha only managed one start and will see that as a personal disappointment following the Elephants’ inability to reach the last eight of the tournament.

Wilfred Zaha (R) makes an unsuccessful attempt at goal as Sierra Leone's goalkeeper  (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)Wilfred Zaha (R) makes an unsuccessful attempt at goal as Sierra Leone's goalkeeper  (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)
Wilfred Zaha (R) makes an unsuccessful attempt at goal as Sierra Leone's goalkeeper (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP) (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

Zaha’s comments after the AFCON exit

Manchester United’s Eric Baily missed the crucial penalty kick, while Salah slotted his home to send Egypt to the next round.

After the game, Crystal Palace winger Zaha described the exit as painful but was already looking to what the future holds.

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He said: “Extremely disappointing end to the tournament, discouragement is not Ivorian, thanks for all the support.”

Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace warms up prior to the Premier League match (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace warms up prior to the Premier League match (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)
Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace warms up prior to the Premier League match (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Zaha’s numbers for the Ivory Coast

Zaha made his England debut in 2012 against Sweden, with Roy Hodgson, and went on to play again against Scotland a year later.

But that would be it for his Three Lions career, and he decided to play for Ivory Coast - the country he was born in.

He has since played in three different Cup of Nations tournaments, with 25 caps and five goals.

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The Palace winger was said to be considering his future when he asked to be excused for the crucial World Cup qualifier against Cameroon in November, a game in which the Ivorians lost.

He then returned to the team, hoping to play a major role in their quest to win the AFCON, but that also has fallen flat.

England to host the Ivory Coast in an international friendly

Zaha will get the chance to show England what could have been, when the Three Lions host the Elephants at Wembley in March.

Gareth Southgate is using the game to prepare his side for the World Cup, while the Ivory Coast will be looking at new players who could be stars of the future, in what is poised to be an interesting game.

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Zaha, so often the hero for Crystal Palace, is regarded as a talent who could have pushed for a place with England.

When is Zaha expected to seen in Crystal Palace shirt

Given that the Premier League is still on a mini winter break, the forward is expected to continue building his fitness ahead of a return to action next week.

He is expected to be part of the team that will play Hartlepool United in the next round of the FA Cup on February 5.

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