Wilfried Zaha is a player with a growing profile across the game and with speculation swirling over the immediate future of the Crystal Palace winger, you can bet the latest interview he’s offered to The Jackal will be of interest to fans from a multitude of different clubs.
For all of the attention Wilf garners on Twitter and Instagram, his actual thoughts, feelings and opinions on the game he’s part of tend to remain a little hidden from public view. With that in mind, it’s interesting to read his take on the racial abuse he suffers in “every game he plays” from opposition fans who allow their jealousy to bubble over into ridiculous, hate-filled screams from mere feet away.
The old school response has always been to ignore it and let your feet do the talking but thanks to high-profile backlash from the likes of Raheem Sterling and Danny Rose on home soil and Juventus’ Moise Kwan over in Italy, we are now at a point where the subject of racial abuse has been placed front and centre in the minds of millions rather than a select few.
Aside from talk of racism, Zaha tackles his own self-doubts over whether or not he still loves the game he grew up desperate to break into; telling The Jackal of his recent discussions with a life coach who has helped him refocus on the things that matter most in life. Central to that is and you sense always will be his son, Leo. As is often the case with your first-born child; their birth and general reliance on you offers a sense of perspective that simply wasn’t there previously. Now, when Zaha has a bad game or suffers a frustrating loss, he’s identified coping mechanisms which enable him to move on with a smile rather than let it play on his mind.
I dare say we’ll continue to see him linked with moves away from SE25 all summer long but on a personal level, you can’t help but have admiration for the man he’s become.