Wilfried Zaha has opened up about how the fear of falling into obscurity made him ‘buck up’ and get his career back on track.
The Crystal Palace winger has been in sublime form this season, and has responded to his critics with consistent performances week in and week out.
After his well-known disastrous spell at Manchester United, the 24-year-old admitted that he was worried he would fall back down to League One – the third tier of English football.
“There was a point I was thinking, ‘If I do not buck up, I could let this slip’,” he said, as quoted by The Sun.
“Before you know it, I could have been in League One. I knew that what happened at United should not define me as a person or player. It was about having a strong mentality and working hard. I’m at an age where I feel I have to start fulfilling my potential.
“People said I was not ready for my big move – but I didn’t get the opportunity and was just branded a flop. I had to start again. I’m doing it for myself and also to show I’m a good player.
“Luckily, Palace have had love for me from the beginning. It is the team I could fall back on. I got settled there again and have kicked on ever since. It did hurt, the criticism. I had to be mentally strong.”
Zaha also revealed the areas he realized he needed to work on, and how it has helped him read the game better.
“My fitness has always been decent,” he added. “I run constantly. That was never the problem. The issue was what I did with the ball – the end product.
“I worked on that. I was going so fast and trying to do so many things at the same time, things were not coming off. So I tried to slow down. I had to work on crosses, too. I now have time to look up and see if I should go again or pick up a pass.”
Written by Reyhan Ashley Nath
Manchester United fan, Wayne Rooney is his role model. Passionate writer who has written for several sites in the past. He’s also an aspiring pianist and creates background music for BlameFootball’s Youtube channel.