Wilfried Zaha may not have been deemed good enough for a chance with the full England squad but it took him just five minutes to make a major impact on his debut for the Ivory Coast this afternoon.
The likes of Roy Hodgson and Gareth Southgate may have ummed and ahhed over Zaha’s long-term suitability to the England squad but in Ivory Coast boss Michel Dussuyer, Wilf has found a willing ally at international level, with the African powerhouse finally convincing the Palace academy man to give up on the Three Lions.
With the African Cup of Nations set to get underway in a little under 10 days, Zaha will be given a full chance to shine in front of the watching world for The Elephants, allowing him to follow in the footsteps of players like Didier Drogba and the Tour brothers whilst proving his numerous doubters wrong in the process.
To neutrals, Zaha has always been a player who has represented unfulfilled potential, thanks in part to the ludicrously rough ride he’s always been given by the pundits that make their living on these shores. Whether it be allegations of diving, a lack of end product or a poor attitude, Wilfried has never been given a fair crack of the whip by the likes of Shearer, Souness and co. not that it has put the country of his birth off.
It’s rather ironic that it took Zaha just five minutes to provide his first assist in an Ivory Coast shirt given the incessant scrutiny his “final ball” has been afforded in recent years but then, the Palace man has never been one to conform dutifully to stereotypes.
I and numerous other Eagles fans have always been convinced that Wilf is good enough to flourish on the international stage; now he’s finally being given the opportunity to show it.