Wilfried Zaha deftly dodges questions over his long-term Crystal Palace future

BY RICHARD CAWLEY

Wilfried Zaha reckons he is tuned back into Crystal Palace after a summer of transfer speculation.

Both Arsenal and Everton had bids rejected for the 26-year-old but he stayed in SE25.

Palace look unlikely to countenance a January exit for their prize talent, although Zaha’s recent interview with BBC Africa sees him dodge his long-term future plans as deftly as opposition defenders.

“I’m seeing how it goes,” said the Ivory Coast international.

“I’m a Crystal Palace player and I’m just trying to perform to the best of my ability for my club. I’m not thinking about anything else and just taking each day as it comes. All I can do is perform on the pitch. I’m trying to be a consistent performer on the pitch week in, week out.”

Zaha has started seven of Palace’s opening eight Premier League fixtures. The only minutes missed were on the opening day when he was a second-half substitute against Everton.

“I had to put my head down and play my football,” said the Eagles talisman. “I would have been hindering my own progress by moaning and not wanting to perform properly.

“I have too much respect for my manager, the fans and my team-mates to treat them that way. It was a thing where ‘okay, this hasn’t happened but I’ve got to get on with it’.

“I’ve got to prove every time that I’m the top player I claim to be so I had to get over that quickly. Obviously my head was a bit all over the place at the beginning of the season. I had to nail down and just get on with it because the team deserved that.

“Last season I set myself a target of 10 goals and managed to get 10, so I was happy. Hopefully I can reach my goals again – that’s all that’s on my mind.”

Zaha was a winn er at the Best of Africa Awards this week, shortlisted in the category for  philanthropic endeavour. He has always donated 10 per cent of his salary since he broke on to the scene at Palace.

“I help my sister’s orphanage, called Tamara’s Hope,” he said.

“So all these kids that have nothing, it takes care of them and it brings me joy knowing that I do that, I help those people in life day-to-day.

“I’m just a normal guy whose managed to make it from nothing and help back home.”

PICTURE BY KEITH GILLARD

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *