The next star of English football in quotes

Who is Wilfried Zaha?

  • The hype

    • "He is a very talented player and everybody knows that."

      "Obviously playing up front again tonight like he did against Sweden has given us another option. Having someone like Wilfried helps as he can play wide and he showed tonight can be really effective in those forward areas. I though when Wilfried came short into those pockets of space, Jonjo picked his timing of the runs really well and the movement from those two players was excellent."
      Brian Eastick England Under 21 coach Bron: Daily Mail 22/03/2013
    • "He looks a terrific player. "He's got great feet and his balance, like all great players, is wonderful. He can go either side and he shifts people without even touching the ball. He's a top, top player." ...»
      Tony Pulis Stoke City Bron: Daily Mail 05/01/2013
    • "He was direct, skilful and committing people [in training] – he looks the real deal.”
      Leon Osman Everton & England Bron: The Daily Telegraph 13/11/2012
    • “I think Wilfried has tremendous potential. He has grown massively over the last 12 months. The first time we saw him was against us in the Carling Cup a year ago, but he has come on a lot since then." ...»
      Roberto Martinez Wigan Athletic manager Bron: Daily Mirror 20/09/2012
  • Zaha on Zaha

    • "I used to spend most of my time with a tennis ball doing tricks, little drag-backs and all sorts in my room. I'd copy people like Ronaldinho but others I'd try myself to see if I could pull them off." ...»
      Wilfried Zaha Crystal Palace (Manchester United) Bron: The Guardian 12/11/2012
    • "When I've got the ball at my feet I do wonder what goes through a defender's head when the Palace fans are singing, 'He's just too good for you.'"
      Wilfried Zaha Crystal Palace (Manchester United) Bron: Daily Mail 12/11/2012
    • "I'd never look at someone and think he's better than me, unless it's Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi. When I get on the pitch it's my time."
      Wilfried Zaha Crystal Palace (Manchester United) Bron: The Guardian 12/11/2012
    • "I think about the Premier League all the time, wondering when I'm going to come up against better defenders. I don't think I've come up against a defender when I've thought 'What can I do to get past this guy?'"
      Wilfried Zaha Crystal Palace (Manchester United) Bron: Daily Mail 12/11/2012
  • Manchester United

    • 'We are signing a player of potential. We always feel we develop players well. We have proved that many times. We hope the boy enjoys coming here, when he comes in the summer.'
      Alex Ferguson Manchester United Bron: Daily Mail 25/01/2013
    • "I feel this is a great deal for the club and the player. We would like to thank Wilf for all he has done for the club and we all wish him well when he joins Manchester United in the summer."
      Steve Parish Crystal Palace co-chairman Bron: Daily Mail 25/01/2013
    • “He won’t be fazed by it, he has a certain arrogance but expresses his talent in any surroundings, and that will be no different at United."
      Dougie Freedman (Bolton Wanderers) Former Crystal Palace manager Bron: The Daily Express 25/01/2013
  • The early days

    • "Wilfried would get the ball and I'd be on the touchline muttering 'set it Wilf' and he'd go and beat three people and score." He's a great lad, a bit shy, easy to manage. His dad has been first class. You get some problem parents in youth football but his dad didn't interfere." ...»
      Gary Issott Crystal Palace academy director Bron: The Independent 13/11/2012
    • "In the youth team, he played as a No 10. In the first team, he began wide left, and can now play wide right. He can go both ways so maybe being in the centre might help him. Some flair players take time to get that part of the game, but he does the defensive work willingly, he would track back and do all that was asked of him."
      Gary Issott Crystal Palace academy director Bron: The Independent 13/11/2012
    • "There was nothing of him. He was very lean, but he had immense strength in holding the ball. He had something that you just can't teach, a natural raw talent - his ability to take players on was unquestionable. He used to play central midfield and ran the show."
      "I'm just very, very proud of him. He's still friends with the people he's known since he was a young boy. He's a lovable boy who's polite with good manners."
      Aaron Smith Football coach at Whitehorse Manor School, Croydon Bron: BBC 25/01/2013
    • "Wilf was quite unassuming and a bit introverted when he came to us. We've had to be patient as he was a late developer physically."
      Gary Issott Crystal Palace academy director Bron: BBC 25/01/2013
  • Crystal Palace

    • "He is the best player to come out of Selhurst Park since Ian Wright, a wonderful blend of trickery, pace and outrageous skill."
      Neil Ashton Daily Mail football news correspondent Bron: Daily Mail 12/11/2012
    • "Have I seen anyone like him? No. Not in my whole career. Not close up. I’m giggling at some of it. When I was growing up, you had the [Harlem] Globetrotters. Well, he can do all of those things with a ball at his feet. "He’s almost mesmeric, he’s almost a genius. He’s an absolute joy to watch and a credit to Crystal Palace.” ...»
      Ian Holloway Crystal Palace manager Bron: The Daily Telegraph 25/01/2013
    • "Potential-wise Wilfried represents the biggest talent to come from the Palace youth system. He is probably the best prospect we [Palace] have had in terms of what he could go on to achieve. He has the potential to make as big an impact as Ian [Wright]. He is a little bit different like Ian was. Ian wasn't a winger as he played through the middle. Wrighty was 23 when he turned pro. Wilfried has played more than 100 games in the league and he's got an England call-up. You have to say just by those numbers that at his age he is a better player than Ian Wright, who went on to great success. I'm sure Wilfried wants to make his mark as well." ...»
      Mark Bright Former Crystal Palace player & PT youth coach Bron: BBC 13/11/2012
    • "I think Wilf is a credit to Palace behind the scenes with all the youngsters that are and that have been developed in the past."

      "We've seen players who are still doing well in the Premier League. Some of them have moved too quick and it's taken a while for them to rise to their potential, and some have just disappeared.

      "Victor Moses and Wayne Routledge have done it, so you just wonder who is next. Wilf has got the experience of what's happened to other players before him and he can learn from that.

      "However, as soon as the big clubs come knocking on the door, it's the skill of the manager for keeping him motivated when you've got the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United looking."
      Geoff Thomas Former Crystal Palace & England player Bron: Croydon Advertiser 20/11/2012
  • Arsenal

    • January 22 - "We were never in for Zaha. I don't know if he will go to Man United. If he goes to Man United, good luck to him."
      Arsene Wenger Arsenal Bron: Daily Mail 22/01/2013
    • January 17 - "We are looking at Zaha, but there has been no bid."
      Arsene Wenger Arsenal Bron: talkSPORT 17/01/2013
    • "I swear I’m not watching arsenal anymore . . . I’m an Arsenal supporter but they stress me out."
      Wilfried Zaha After Olympiakos beat Arsenal 2-1 Bron: Metro 04/12/2012
  • The skill

    • “It’s just wonderful to see such an exhilarating and exciting player. His ability to run with the ball and outrun people without the ball is just amazing. They are going to have to do something to try and stop him because when he’s got the ball at his feet, God help you. Seriously, God help you.”
      Ian Holloway Crystal Palace manager Bron: The Sun 13/11/2013
    • "Zaha has wonderful ball manipulation skills, especially his ability to swap the ball from either foot, in a blink of an eye, while keeping perfect balance. This allows him to go past players at will, in the tightest of spaces." ...»
      James Scowcroft Former Crystal Palace player Bron: The Independen 17/01/2013
    • "Wilfried is a unique type of person, a unique type of player. He doesn’t conform to any rules or regulations. It’s been fantastic and, as time has gone on, he has done it the Wilfried Zaha way.”
      Shaun Derry Former Crystal Palace captain Bron: Daily Telegraph 25/01/2013
    • "You can’t tell Wilfried how to beat a player because it is all natural. It’s all sixth sense; co-ordination with a ball and quick feet from when he was out playing on the streets with 20 kids around him. He has not been manufactured." ...»
      George Burley Former Crystal Palace manager Bron: The Daily Telegraph 25/01/2013
  • The breakthrough

    • "Wilf was a late developer. He was doing OK at 14, 15. At 16, he was doing better. George [Burley] said 'give me your best youngster to train with us for two weeks in pre-season. We sent Wilf. He never came back."
      Gary Issott Crystal Palace academy director Bron: The Independent 13/11/2012
    • "I brought him in to train with the first team at times just as I had Victor Moses. I'd never seen kids like them. He had tremendous ability, like Victor, he had so much natural talent – he didn't have to practise anything."
      Neil Warnock Former Crystal Palace manager Bron: The Independent 13/11/2012
    • "You could see straight away that Wilfried Zaha had exceptional talent."
      George Burley Former Crystal Palace manager Bron: The Independent 14/01/2013
    • “I gave him his debut on the recommendation of Dougie Freedman. He was a very shy boy back then but he took to the game like a duck to water. He is a tough lad and no cry baby.” ...»
      Paul Hart Former Crystal Palace caretaker manager who gave Zaha his pro debut Bron: The Sun 12/11/2012
  • Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 2; 30/11/2011

    • "I was so nervous for that game. But, as we stepped out, I thought I'm obviously here for a reason, so just go out and do what you normally do."
      Wilfried Zaha Crystal Palace (Manchester United) Bron: The Guardian 12/11/2012
    • "Throughout the first half Zaha was quite the best thing in the match, quick, strong, skilful on the ball and with the keenest of eyes for dangerous empty space."
      James Lawton Chief Sports Writer for The Independent Bron: The Independent 01/12/2011
    • "Whatever [Zaha's] future holds, he will probably always be part of the past of United's Brazilian defender Fabio. Long before the United player received a yellow card, Zaha had run him to the point of distraction." Darron Gibson was also fortunate to get away with a craftily placed leg when Zaha burst into the box shortly after Fabio had been obliged to drag him down, at the risk of a red card, on the edge of the box. ...»
      James Lawton Chief Sports Writer for The Independent Bron: The Independent 01/12/2011
  • The best player in the Championship

    • "[Zaha is] the best player outside the Premiership, hands down . . . Since the first time I saw him I thought he was going to go right to the top."
      Darren Ferguson Peterborough manager Bron: The Independent 11/11/2012
    • "If you're talking £15m for Zaha, Thomas [Ince] has got to be £25m. If you compare the two, Thomas should cost more. Zaha is a fantastic player, don't get me wrong. Zaha's a stronger runner and does a lot of tricks, whereas Thomas is more direct, he makes things happen and he scores goals." ...»
      Paul Ince Blackpool manager Bron: Daily Mail 05/04/2013
    • "[Zaha is] a flying winger who runs at opponents with great flair and poise, is the most exhilarating talent outside the top flight."
      Alan Smith Former Arsenal striker, Daily Telegraph football writer Bron: The Daily Telegraph 04/01/2013
  • Potential

    • “Wilfried’s progress has been so quick that not only can he go into a Premier League club right now but he can go into a top-four team – and play.”
      Dougie Freedman Former Crystal Palace manager, now in charge of Bolton Wanderes Bron: The Daily Express 21/01/2013
    • "He is such a talented young player and he will get better - there is scope for improvement. He has got pace and unbelievable quality and natural attributes."
      Owen Coyle Former Bolton Wanderers manager Bron: 30/01/2012
    • "Wilfried Zaha is going to be a special player."
      Jacob Steinberg Guardian football writer Bron: The Guardian 21/03/2013
    • “Manchester United have bought potential. He’s been so exciting these last couple of years and he’s got so much better. He potentially can be another Ronaldo. He’s got great skills. He can use both feet. He’s got excellent speed and great endurance as well. He’s learning and he’s played for England. He’s gone to the right club. You know you can’t hold onto someone like that and £10million plus add-ons is a good fee for him.” ...»
      Mark Bright Former Crystal Palace player & PT youth coach Bron: talkSPORT 22/02/2013
Mattermap door , Simon Campbell. 13 april 2013