Wilfried Zaha has always been adored by Crystal Palace fans but this season, the talented wide-man has found a consistency to his game which has got plenty suggesting that a full England call-up may be just around the corner.
The love Palace fans have for Wilfried is often glibly written off by those in the mainstream media as a rose-tinted love affair with an academy graduate; a standpoint which offers no leeway to those of us who protest so vehemently about the joy that is often generated by seeing the 23-year-old systematically embarrass the full-back trying to mark him on any given day.
In truth, Wilf’s ill-fated move to Manchester United in the summer of 2013 highlighted the damage that can be done to an individual’s reputation by the British sporting press once they set their minds to it. Time and again slurs would be made against the winger’s character both on and off the football field, with no obvious right of reply for the man at the centre of it all. Whilst different in nature, Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling is currently going through the same sort of incomprehensible grilling from tabloid journalists, giving dimwits across the nation an opportunity to jab their finger at him in disgust as a way of passing the time.
In truth, the aforementioned character assassination of Zaha has cast a cloud over the brains of numerous “experts”, who continually refuse to accept the fear he puts into defenders each time he steps beyond the white line. We’ve seen our fair share of talented wingers at Selhurst Park in recent years, Victor Moses and Yannick Bolasie being two obvious examples and yet, were you to have asked our fan-base back in May for the most talented name in that trio, the overwhelming majority would have opted for Zaha without a moment’s hesitation.
He has a startling ability to get you on your feet as a fan, stunned at the trickery and guile he routinely shows when ghosting past his covering defender. Now, with three assists to name already this season (the joint highest of any English player in the Premier League) his detractors are running out of sticks with which to beat him.
The above video is a thing of sheer beauty. Set aside three minutes of your day and enjoy it.