Given the fact that you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you caught Wilfried Zaha’s appearance on Goals On Sunday last weekend but this morning, Sky Sports published a separate interview with the Palace winger, which was conducted just before the cameras began to roll.
As you would expect, a large part of the conversation revolves around the accusations of “diving” that are regularly directed in the academy graduate’s direction and whilst Wilf is rightly keen to discuss the rough treatment he gets from opposition fans and players, he also touches on a number of other subjects, including his ever-deepening love affair with the Palace faithful.
Despite signing a bumper five-year contract extension just last summer, journalists everywhere are keen to talk to Zaha about the prospect of moving away from SE25 but time and time again, the man himself reiterates his loyalty to the club whose ground he grew up a stone’s throw from.
Happy to talk up the Eagles’ fan-base as the best in the country, Wilf makes reference to the fact that our supporters “know all the songs” and “sing the whole game” proving to anyone on the outside looking in, that his affection for those who attend Selhurst Park regularly runs far deeper than what you would expect from the caricature of a professional footballer in 2018.
In the latter part of the interview, Zaha muses on the important role that he and his teammates play as role models for young people across south London, admitting that he remains happy to live his life within the community, rather than hiding himself away behind the gates of a secluded mansion. It sounds like a cliche but as someone who has seen life on the other side of the fence, the 25-year-old has a real understanding of his importance to Palace and the people who turn up to watch them play from week to week.
“I feel like Crystal Palace is just totally different. I feel like it’s proper support from proper fans.” – Wilfried Zaha