Blogs & Opinion


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

David Jones - 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:

Latest News RSS feeds

Premier League round-up

Southampton moved into second in the Premier League on a bad day for champions Manchester City.

Bony double beats Leicester

Wilfried Bony's brace helped Swansea seal their first win in six Premier League games with a 2-0 win against Leicester.

Real romp to Clasico victory

Real Madrid staged a stunning El Clasico fightback to overcome arch-rivals Barcelona 3-1 at Santiago Bernabeu.

Sanchez seals Arsenal win

Costly errors from Wes Brown and Vito Mannone helped Alexis Sanchez to a brace in a 2-0 win for Arsenal at Sunderland.

West Ham dent City title hopes

West Ham put a severe dent in Manchester City's title aspirations after earning a deserved 2-1 win at Upton Park.

Features

Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala still finding his feet in the Premier League but time is of the essence

Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala still finding his feet in the Premier League but time is of the essence

A frustrating week for Manuel Pellegrini was compounded by Manchester City's 2-1 defeat at Upton Park as Diafra Sakho secured three points for West Ham with his sixth strike in seven Premier League matches.

Manchester United v Chelsea: If Jose Mourinho's team go to Old Trafford and win the Invincibles talk will be no joke

Manchester United v Chelsea: If Jose Mourinho's team go to Old Trafford and win the Invincibles talk will be no joke

Cesc Fabregas was adamant when asked the question. Could Chelsea remain unbeaten? “No, no, this is a joke. This is a joke. There will only be one team who can do that - the Arsenal Invincibles team of 2003.” Respectful of his former club’s achievement and downplaying expectations.

Louis van Gaal versus Jose Mourinho: In their own words and the words of the players who know them both well

Louis van Gaal versus Jose Mourinho: In their own words and the words of the players who know them both well

Sir Bobby Robson is rightly credited as the man who helped launch Jose Mourinho’s astonishing career, but when the veteran manager was moved upstairs at Barcelona in 1997, the future of his Portuguese coach was uncertain.