Wilfried Zaha versatility important for England U21s says Brian Eastick

 

Wilfried Zaha can provide England Under-21s with a different dimension as a lone striker, according to coach Brian Eastick.

Predominantly used as a winger, the 20-year-old was deployed in a central striking role in last night's friendly defeat of Romania.

It was a move that paid dividends for Stuart Pearce's side as Zaha opened the scoring in the 3-0 win with a sumptuous curling effort.

The Crystal Palace man impressed up top and received the man-of-the-match award after a far more assured performance in the role than against Sweden last month.

"He plays wide for Crystal Palace and it is slightly different role we are asking him to do," Eastick, speaking instead of manager Pearce, said of Zaha.

"Obviously in terms of international football, you need that flexibility. We don't want to be too mechanic, too robotic when we have possession of the ball.

"Having someone like Wilfried helps as he can play wide and he showed tonight can be really effective in those forward areas.

"I thought Jonjo Shelvey's performance tonight was really outstanding.

"I thought when Wilfried came short into those pockets of space, Jonjo picked his timing of the runs really well and the movement from those two players was excellent.

"And, of course, the wide players were excellent as well so it has certainly given Stuart some options for Monday (friendly against Austria) and also for the (European Championship) finals."

Speaking on Zaha, who links up with Manchester United this summer, Eastick continued: "He is a very talented player and everybody knows that.

"Obviously playing up front again tonight like he did against Sweden has given us another option.

"I thought the front three players and Jonjo Shelvey playing in behind them were very fluent tonight.

"Even though Romania had 10 or 11 players behind the ball, we caused them quite a few problems."

Substitutes Jack Robinson and Nathan Delfouneso netted the other goals in a comfortable win for England, whose only concern was an early injury sustained by Nottingham Forest midfielder Henri Lansbury.

"We hope it is not too serious," Eastick said. "It's bad bruising more than anything.

"He was brought off more as a precaution really so we'll let that settle down overnight and let the doctor and physio have a look at it in the morning.

"If there is any doubt whatsoever, we won't consider him for Monday's friendly with Austria. I think it is important to look out for players."

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