Zaha eyeing Palace farewell with glory

Topics

Wilfried Zaha is desperate to help Crystal Palace reach the Premier League before he joins Manchester United.

The Ivory Coast-born forward is rated one of English football's hottest prospects having lit up the Championship.

Zaha, who progressed through Palace's youth ranks and made his first-team debut in March 2010, has scored 13 goals in 120 league appearances and set up countless more.

The 20-year-old was handed his first senior England cap by Roy Hodgson against Sweden in November before being linked with a string of Premier League big-hitters.

Champions-elect Manchester United announced on January 25 that they had agreed a deal for the prodigy's signature on a five-year contract, but would be loaning the starlet back to Palace for the remainder of the 2012/13 campaign.

The Eagles are currently fourth in the Championship, six points off an automatic place. Speaking exclusively in the May 2013 issue of FourFourTwo - out now - Zaha revealed it would be the perfect "climax" if he could sign off at Selhurst Park by guiding them back up.

"I've been here for so many years - the good times and the rough ones - so it would be huge [to seal promotion]," he says.

"To see the club go up would be an amazing climax to my time at Palace before joining Manchester United in the summer."

Zaha will be following in the footsteps of Victor Moses, who honed his skills at Selhurst Park before progressing into the Premier League with Wigan Athletic and Chelsea.

United fans have been spoilt for exciting wide-men in recent years after witnessing Cristiano Ronaldo, Antonio Valencia and Nani fly up the wings, and Zaha is set to follow them.

"I love going one-on-one with defenders and using my pace and trickery. I don't really think about it too much - if I've got the ball at my feet it just happens. If I get past them, great; if I don't, then I'll just try again.

"I'd like to master the timing of my runs and finishing. The gaffer [at Crystal Palace, Ian Holloway] has been working with me a lot on getting in front of the defender and breaking to the back post."

Read the full interview with Zaha in the May 2013 issue of FourFourTwo - out now digitally and in print - and find out where he places in the Top 50 players in the Football League. The issue also features a One-on-One with Diego Forlan and exclusive interview with Victor Valdes, and looks at the myths surrounding the term 'one man team'. Find out more about the new issue