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28th Apr 2018

It’s hard to argue with Robbie Savage’s claim about Wilfried Zaha

On the money

Darragh Murphy

Who doesn’t love a redemption story?

Wilfried Zaha’s shot at the big time didn’t go as planned, with Sir Alex Ferguson’s final signing making just four appearances for Manchester United before returning to Crystal Palace.

“Me going to a big club when I was like 19 or 20, I didn’t know what to expect, how to behave, whatever,” Zaha recently told Sky Sports. “I was just a youngster who wanted to do tricks, I didn’t even care about end product really.”

However, since his ill-fated spell with the Red Devils, Zaha has matured into one of the most influential wingers in the Premier League.

Palace supporters will testify to the fact that the club would be in a far worse position if not for the efforts of Zaha throughout this campaign.

Seven goals, two assists and more dribbles than any other player in the Premier League this term have gone some way to aid the club in its bid to avoid relegation.

Palace are all but safe and while a bottom-half finish seldom results in many plaudits, Robbie Savage has made a point of showering Zaha with praise.

Savage, writing in his Mirror column, believes that the 25-year-old should be discussed in the same breath as some of the country’s top players just based on what he’s contributed to the Palace cause.

“Wilfried Zaha has barely got a mention in any Player Of The Season polls but nobody has been more important to their club this year,” Savage wrote.

“Crystal Palace were a sinking ship when they lost their first seven Premier League games without scoring a goal, but they have had two saviours [Zaha and Hodgson].

“When we talk about players being the biggest single ­influence on their teams, it’s easy to think of Mo Salah at Liverpool, Kevin De Bruyne at Manchester City, and Harry Kane at Tottenham.

“But, along with Salah, none has been more influential than Zaha. Without him, Palace would have sunk long ago.”