Zaha will make Crystal Palace players aware of rivalry with Brighton – McAnuff
Former Crystal Palace winger Jobi McAnuff says Wilfried Zaha will make sure all the players are aware of what the rivalry with Brighton means to everyone at the club.
Roy Hodgson’s team lost both encounters with the Seagulls last season meaning Albion were able to celebrate a league double over the Eagles for the first time since the 1983-84 season.
Monday night will give Palace the chance to gain revenge at Selhurst Park and heroes can be born with a match-winning performance against Brighton.
Ex-midfielder McAnuff knows that, having scored in stoppage time in 2005 to give the Eagles a 3-2 victory over their rivals at Withdean Stadium.
He told the PA news agency: “The Palace players will know what it means, most definitely. Wilf is there so someone like him is very important at times like this.
“Wilf has come through the system and played in enough of these games so I am sure he will be getting it round to the lads if they are not quite familiar with it because you do have people from different backgrounds and countries.
“But in this day and age, with social media I am sure they will all be aware of the significance and it is a big game.”
McAnuff only spent two seasons at Palace before leaving for Watford in 2007, but has fond memories of his time at SE25 and in particular that clash away to Brighton.
“It flashed up recently. I don’t watch a lot of my goals, but it came up on Twitter and refreshed it in my memory,” he said.
“A really good goal, I remember hitting it and it got a slight deflection, but it ended up in the back of the net.
“The problem that day was the fans were so far away so we tried, but got halfway and thought we might not make it. It was a really, really good day and from my time there a big highlight and a goal I will always remember.”
McAnuff is now a player-coach at Leyton Orient and will watch one of his old O’s team-mates take part in Monday’s derby.
Steven Alzate progressed through the academy at Brisbane Road before he earned a move to Brighton in 2017.
It was a big jump for the then-teenager after only 12 first-team appearances for Orient, but he has become a regular under Graham Potter this season.
“The sign of the real top, top ones is where nothing seems to faze them. I had a bit of time with Steven here, when I was training with the kids actually, and he was always one that stood out,” McAnuff added.
“He had something different. His quality was always there, but he had that drive and a bit of devil in him because he was never fazed.
“You get some lads going to train with the first team and they freeze and can’t quite handle it, but he never looked like that and he has gone on.
“It is great to see him doing well and he is a really nice lad.”
Alzate has recently been playing right wing-back for Brighton and – although he could be switched into midfield for Monday night, with Dale Stephens out due to suspension – there is a chance he will be directly up against Zaha.
But McAnuff insisted: “Steven will go out and try do the best he can do and I am sure he will give absolutely everything.
“It will be a tough assignment if he is out there and he has Zaha running at him, but the lads around him will appreciate that and make sure they support him.”