Wilfried Zaha continued to smear egg across the faces of his doubters yesterday afternoon against Metz by lashing home a powerful volley in Palace's penultimate friendly of the 2017/18 pre-season.
After a relatively quiet opening 45 minutes, the winger burst into life after the interval, teasing the defenders who tried to mark him with trademark tricks and flicks, drawing an inevitably large number of fouls along the way. Part of me understands why defenders kick the living daylights out of the academy graduate; they're frustrated and embarrassed at what he's doing to them in front of thousands in the stands and at home on TV but in a pre-season clash, I can't help but feel that it's a little over the top.
In isolation, Wilf's goal showcased a growing sense of maturity and composure inside the 18-yard-box, peeling away from his covering defender before steadying himself and smashing home a volley with marvellous technique. It was an effort that his friend and teammate Christian Benteke would have been proud of and gave a glimpse into the slightly more central role Frank de Boer may use him in from time to time during the 2017/18 Premier League season.
Indeed, our overall performance in northern France yesterday afternoon was impressive, giving the impression that the Dutchman's tactical instructions are starting to really take hold within the squad. Defensively compact, controlled in possession and still posing a real threat on the break, there were plenty of reasons to be cheerful from a red and blue point of view as we edge towards the start of the new league season.
Zaha has always been looked upon as one of the team's star names but this year more than most, we should see him rise above his peers and leave a lasting impression on those who have chosen to criticise him previously.