Big things were expected of Wilfried Zaha following his £10 million move to Manchester United from Crystal Palace in 2013.
The livewire winger had made a huge impact in the Championship and was signed by the Red Devils after impressing Old Trafford scouts and, crucially, Sir Alex Ferguson.
Ferguson would retire at the end of the 2012-13 campaign, leaving Zaha in the hands of his successor David Moyes. But the youngster’s disappointing performance in the Community Shield against Wigan appeared to convince Moyes that the winger wasn’t ready for top-flight football.
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In truth, Zaha’s Manchester United career never recovered from that early blow.
Eighteen months and just four appearances later, Zaha returned to Selhurst Park for £6 million.
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Zaha: United fans still give me stick
Ahead of his return to Old Trafford with Crystal Palace on Wednesday evening, the one-time England international has revealed that he still gets stick from United supporters on Twitter whenever he makes a mistake in a match.
“My time at United has gone and I don't mind if I get booed,” Zaha is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail. “I still have Man United followers on Twitter. They might wait until I make a mistake in a game or something, and they'll come out with something like 'that' s why you got sold'.
“I just think you either follow me or you don't. That stage when I was at Man United has gone now and I'm a Crystal Palace player.
“I am just trying to progress in my career, so going back to Old Trafford will be like playing at any other stadium. I am just going to do my best as usual.”
Zaha is struggling to fulfil his potential
While Zaha has rediscovered some of his old form since returning to Palace, the 23-year-old hasn’t developed at the rate many in the game expected he would a few years ago.
Two goals in 33 Premier League appearances is a disappointing return for a player of his considerable talent.
The Eagles appear to be safe from relegation following back-to-back draws against Everton and Arsenal, while another draw against Louis van Gaal’s side would bring Palace up to the 40-point mark.
Zaha looking to secure more points at Old Trafford
“The point at Arsenal was massive and reaching 39 points is big,” Zaha added. “Now we go to United without much pressure and we can show what we can do.
“I am buzzing the pressure is off our shoulders now. When you are playing with pressure it just shows in your game, and we've been playing with so much pressure recently.
“We were winning games in the FA Cup but our league season was going down the drain.
“But we have got what we have wanted a little and can focus to see how far we can go in the competition. It will just be nice to go out there and play the football we know.”
Will Wilfried Zaha become one of the Premier League’s best wingers over the coming years? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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