Wilfried Zaha was arguably the best player on the pitch during yesterday’s FA Cup triumph over Watford, propelling the team forward into a showpiece final against his old employers Manchester United on May 21st, with the winger suggesting that he’d be “buzzing” to score against them.
Much has been made, both by the media and Crystal Palace fans, of the drive that Zaha will have to prove any doubters wrong when he faces his old club in a little over a month’s time, but for the Palace academy graduate, any talk of a special performance from him is met with an impressive degree of apathy.
At the time of his move to the North West, Zaha was a man with the world at his feet, but following the unexpected retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson and his successor David Moyes’ baffling refusal to ever use the wide man, he eventually returned to SE25 with an entirely unfair reputation as something of a failure in the eyes of the fickle and painfully uninformed general footballing public.
His route back to success has been a long and tricky one, routinely kicked and doubled up on by opposing defences, Wilf has had to work hard to quell the temper that often bubbled over the surface in his formative days, but under the careful guidance of Alan Pardew, he is starting to realise the full extent of the potential we always knew he had stashed away.
The quotes from both he and Pardew attached above, offer a window into the mind of a player who could still easily become an England regular in years to come, should things go his way. Whilst Zaha himself is understandably keen to play down the United connection, the boss takes it upon himself to emphasise the importance Wilfried places on proving both to the red half of Manchester and himself, that they made a grave error in ever letting him leave the Theatre Of Dreams.