Wilfried Zaha remains out of the first-team picture for Crystal Palace but following on from Roy Hodgson’s comments to the press on Friday, it’s clear that the 25-year-old is doing everything humanly possible to make it back ahead of schedule.
Those of you who follow the academy graduate on Twitter or Instagram will no doubt already be aware that he has taken a “can do” approach to rehabilitation, documenting a great deal of his progress with videos and pictures aplenty. Whilst there are plenty of pitfalls associated with social media, for players in Wilf’s position, the positive messages they’re showered with whenever they upload some footage must boost their mood dramatically.
Having injured himself part-way through our home game against Newcastle and played through the pain barrier for the remainder of the clash, there is already no doubt as to how much Zaha cares about the club’s fortunes but without his services on the pitch from week to week, I know I’m comforted by the knowledge that his rehab programme is going so well.
As a manager who has worked within the game for well over 40 years now, Roy Hodgson has seen and coached a huge number of players, making his comments regarding Wilf’s desire and willingness to return all the more pleasing. Whilst some will write it off as an exaggeration on the manager’s part, the fact that he described Zaha as the single best player he’s worked with in relation to rehabilitation says a huge amount about him as a character.
I know to many it’s ancient history now but on a personal level, I love it when managers of Hodgson’s standing talk so glowingly about Zaha’s mental attitude after the rubbish he had thrown his way in the press during the ill-fated stint he was forced to endure at Manchester United. At that stage of his career, talk of a bad attitude was rife throughout the press, with anything Palace fans said to the contrary falling on deaf ears at a national level but quite clearly, Roy Hodgson is now a fully paid up member of the Wilfried Zaha fan-club and rightly so.
We can probably expect the wide-man to miss out on at least one or two weeks more before even thinking of returning to the first-team fold but after initially fearing the worst, I think it’s fair to say that the long-term outlook is rather sunny when it comes to Wilf’s reintroduction to the Premier League.