Blogs & Opinion


Roy Hodgson and FA must not let Wilfried Zaha slip through their fingers, says David Jones

Crystal Palace - David Jones Posted 14th November 2012 view comments

In footballing circles he has long been a poorly kept secret beyond the confines of Selhurst Park.

A teenager blessed with god given skills that come along only once in a generation or, in the case of Crystal Palace, every couple of years!

And on Wednesday night in Sweden, Wilfried Zaha, born in Ivory Coast but brought up in south east London, could fulfil the prophecy of his employer by making his England debut having just turned 20.

Zaha: the England new-boy is being courted by Ivory Coast, the country of his birth

Zaha: the England new-boy is being courted by Ivory Coast, the country of his birth

Only last Thursday on The Footballers' Football Show, Steve Parish, co-owner of Crystal Palace, shared his frustrations at England's lack of urgency in making sure Zaha did not go the same way as Victor Moses, another Palace prodigy.

Chelsea's Moses is now a committed Nigerian international having turned his back on England after appearing through the age groups from 16 through to 21.

It was in London that Zaha honed his natural talent and Hodgson must convince the Palace flyer that England is his footballing home.

David Jones
Quotes of the week

Parish warned the FA that famous footballing figures from the Ivory Coast, and you might be able to think of one who played his football in West London until very recently, have been making very loud and direct overtures to Zaha.

His suggestion was unless the FA acted swiftly, Zaha's sublime talents would slip through their grasp as those of Moses did before him.

But I suspect even Parish might have been surprised by the speed of young Wilfried's elevation from the under-21 squad.

So the story goes, he went from celebrating his birthday with family and friends to being whisked off to join the England squad in a matter of hours, and with very little notice.

Of course, this being a friendly international, Zaha still has the option of representing the country of his birth, a country to which he has never returned having left Africa aged four.

It was on the streets and parks of London that Zaha honed his natural talent and this week Roy Hodgson must use this opportunity to convince the Palace flyer that with England he has indeed found his footballing home.

Don't miss The Footballers' Football Show, 10pm, Thursday, Sky Sports 2 HD.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Ray Wilkins

Wilkins: Rooney for captain

Ray Wilkins says Wayne Rooney is the "standout candidate" for the England captaincy....

Jamie Carragher

Carra: Gerrard hard to replace

Jamie Carragher says there’s no natural replacement for Steven Gerrard in the England team....

Martin Tyler

Tyler: We need Stevie's values

Steven Gerrard can inspire the next generation of England stars even in retirement, says Martin Tyler....

Latest News RSS feeds

Live transfer updates

Gylfi Sigurdsson completes move to Swansea, while Tottenham agree deals to sign Ben Davies and Michel Vorm.

Woodward: United can spend big

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward says the club is prepared to break transfer records, if necessary.

Sky Sports News HQ is coming

Sky Sports News will relaunch on channel 401 as Sky Sports News HQ from August 12.

Spurs and Swans confirm deals

Tottenham have signed Swansea duo Ben Davies and Michel Vorm, with Gylfi Sigurdsson moving in the opposite direction.

Liverpool 'bigger than Suarez'

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists there is no bad blood between the club and the outgoing Luis Suarez.

Features

Why new signing Willy Caballero has the ability to usurp Joe Hart as Manchester City's first-choice goalkeeper

Why new signing Willy Caballero has the ability to usurp Joe Hart as Manchester City's first-choice goalkeeper

With Joe Hart celebrating title success with Manchester City after five consecutive wins to finish the season, it is easy to forget that for the second campaign in a row the England goalkeeper had struggled.

James Rodriguez is a Real Madrid player for £63million - now Carlo Ancelotti must work out how to fit him in

James Rodriguez is a Real Madrid player for £63million - now Carlo Ancelotti must work out how to fit him in

“Why put another layer of gold plate on the Bentley when you are losing the entire engine?”