Manchester United broke the bank in January for this Ivory Coast-born winger with Ferguson seeing enough to convince him that Wilfried Zaha is the future of the club.
Wilfried Zaha has the World Cup at his feet
Still smarting after losing Paul Pogba to Juventus Ferguson has added the very physical steel of Wilfried Zaha to his ranks immediately loaning the player to Crystal Palace for the rest of his season. It’s a shrewd move as it allows the 20 year old a smooth transition to the big time while giving him the chance to see out his time at the London Club that will see him move on to United with the blessing of the Palace support.
They will be sad to see him go though, the young winger has had a string of stunning displays for Palace on the left wing and as a product of their youth academy has enjoyed a meteoric rise to the big time which culminated in a record fee (€18 million) paid by a Premier League club for a Championship player and Zaha’s senior England debut against Sweden in Stockholm last month.
It looks like Zaha was fast-tracked into the England senior team to lock him down as Cotes d’Ivoire were very keen to get him to declare for his country of birth ahead of the African Cup of Nations. Zaha was born in the Ivory Coast, but moved to England at the age of four and was subsequently schooled and reared in England. England Manager Roy Hodgson has denied this was the case and claims that Zaha is a big part of his plans ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, as is his fellow debutant that day Liverpool’s Rahim Sterling.
With some comparisons to Chelsea’s victor Moses, Zaha has the Nigerien’s strength and pace, but has also an array of sublime skills and step-overs that make him great at beating players one-on-one. While his raw talent has taken a huge amount of honing, a propensity to do too much and try the spectacular instead of the effective has been curbed and he has visibly improved his defensive game. That’s partly down to the excellent work of the Crystal Palace academy but also down to his willingness to work and attitude, something which would have been a key selling point for Ferguson.
Zaha is principally a winger but is also competent in the centre as a striker, his shooting and aerial ability have also improved markedly. It’s all happened so fast for young Zaha, going from gangly Championship club debutant in 2010 to a bidding war between Arsenal and United, the young lad certainly is on the cusp of greatness, but we won’t see much of him this year, at least, unless you tune into watch Crystal Palace, or you catch him on duty for the England Under-21 side who are favourites to win this Summer’s Under-21 European Championship.
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