Alan Pardew has claimed that Wilfried Zaha’s time spent at Manchester United was bad for his development as a player.
Since moving back to SE25, Zaha has rediscovered the joy of playing football in a side that value his strengths (as is shown here). Still required to work hard from a defensive standpoint as well as in the final third, he is encouraged to play his natural game by Pardew and the coaching staff, prompting him to produce moments of genuine magic on a regular basis.
As always, it is consistency which continues to elude Wilfried, a point proven perfectly in the last seven days. After struggling hugely to make an impact against Tottenham Hotspur, Pardew took the wide man off the field at half-time, making reference to his below-par efforts in his post-match musings, but, having obviously listened to his manager’s constructive criticism, Zaha was like a man reborn at Selhurst Park on Wednesday night.
Firing on all cylinders under the floodlights, he toyed with Charlton like a cat batting a defenceless mouse around a living room, showing a desire to prove that he was capable of upping his game when asked to do so.
Pardew’s task now, is to bring about a shift in Zaha’s mental processes, which prompts him into approaching every game he plays with the same hunger to dismiss the doubts people may have over his footballing abilities.
There has never been a question raised about the winger’s natural talents, but after a wasted year at Old Trafford, some habits are proving harder to break than others. Let’s hope Pardew is the man to help Zaha forget them for good.