Zaha earns England U21 call-up
Updated Thursday, 23rd February 2012
Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha has been handed his first call-up to the England Under-21s squad for next week's European Championship qualifier against Belgium.
The 19-year-old, former under-19 international, has been rewarded for his performances for npower Championship Palace that have seen him linked with a host of Barclays Premier League clubs.
There was also a maiden call for Hull midfielder Cameron Stewart, while Middlesbrough - who host next Wednesday's match at the Riverside Stadium - have two players in the squad, goalkeeper Jason Steele and defender Joe Bennett.
England will be looking for revenge against a Belgium side who inflicted the first defeat of their European Championship qualifying game. They will be managed in the Group 8 fixture by Brian Eastick, who is deputising for England caretaker manager Stuart Pearce.
"This opportunity is something I regard as a privilege, as I do whenever I have been head coach of any England team," said Eastick, who was head coach for England at last summer's FIFA U20 World Cup in Colombia.
"Due to the environment that Stuart has developed within the Under-21s set-up, it will hopefully be a seamless transition for this game with continuity being maintained with regards to our principles of play."
He continued: "Stuart and I have had a good professional relationship having worked together closely during his five years at the FA.
"Last week, I sat down with him to discuss the overall plans for this get-together and careful consideration has been given to the make-up of both the senior and Under-21s squads.
"There are a couple of new faces in the group, with Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha and Hull City's Cameron Stewart coming in for the first time. They both deserve their opportunities after some impressive performances at club level."
Squad: Ben Amos, Jack Butland, Jason Steele; Joe Bennett, Ryan Bennett, Steven Caulker, Craig Dawson, Martin Kelly, Danny Rose, Adam Smith; Gary Gardner, Jordan Henderson, Henri Lansbury, Jason Lowe, Josh McEachran, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jonjo Shelvey, Cameron Stewart, Wilfried Zaha; Nathan Delfouneso, Will Keane, Marvin Sordell, Connor Wickham.