Roy Hodgson fully expects Wilfried Zaha to still be a Crystal Palace player next season – despite the Ivory Coast international admitting he hankers after playing Champions League football.
The 26-year-old has been linked with a summer move away from SE25,.
And Zaha, who returned to Palace in 2014 after failing to make an impact at Manchester United – making the move permanent in February 2015 – was quoted in a national newspaper saying he wanted to test himself against Europe’s elite.
“I should be there,” Zaha said. “I’m missing out. I don’t just want to be at home watching it.”
But Hodgson felt the attacker’s performance in Sunday’s 3-2 victory at Arsenal underlined that he is not eyeing the exit door.
The Palace manager said: “The bottom line is this: he’s our player, and he’s certainly happy.
“That wasn’t the performance of a guy looking to get away from his club.
“He’s on a four-year contract, he’s one of our highest-paid players and he’s absolutely adored by the fans and everyone in south-east London.
“As far as I’m concerned, I’m looking forward to working with him not only in the near future, but I’m looking forward to seeing him in the Crystal Palace shirt for many years to come.
“The question is how many players, if the question is put to them, would say: ‘I don’t want to play Champions League football.’
“You just congratulate the journalist – he’s caught him at the right moment and extracted an honest answer out of him.”
James McArthur gave plaudits to Zaha and Christian Benteke for their displays at Arsenal. All three men were on target.
The Scot said: “Not only on the ball, but off the ball they were tremendous. They made it so hard for Arsenal and gave us a great shape all the way through to counter with.”