Wilfried Zaha: Roy Hodgson thanks Crystal Palace fans for backing wantaway winger
Zaha was a second-half substitute in goalless draw at home to Everton, the club who pursued him this summer
By Ben Grounds
Last Updated: 10/08/19 9:44pm
Roy Hodgson praised the Crystal Palace fans for backing Wilfried Zaha during their opening-day 0-0 draw with Everton, despite the winger angling for a transfer away from Selhurst Park.
Zaha was a target for the Toffees, as well as Arsenal, during the summer window and handed in a transfer request in the hope of landing a move away from Palace.
According to Sky Sports News, Everton had a £70m plus James McCarthy and Cenk Tosun bid for the winger rejected - and as Deadline Day passed, Zaha remained at the club.
The Ivory Coast international was only named on the bench on Saturday, having recently returned to training following his involvement at the Africa Cup of Nations and with the spotlight firmly fixed on him after his potential exit.
But his name rang around the stands on several occasions before he was introduced with 25 minutes remaining.
"He handled it very well but the crowd helped, didn't they? It was such a great reception," Hodgson said.
"It was nice to have him available to give another dimension to our play. The two front players who started were exceptional but it was good to have him to bring on.
Sheff Utd vs C Palace
August 18, 2019, 1:00pm
"I only saw him on Friday because I sent him home on Thursday. But he was fine on Friday. He was excellent this morning, no problem at all, as you can tell by watching the game.
"That situation has been and gone and Wilf will make certain he brings his straw to the water and helps us have a good season, just like he has done in the previous two seasons."
Morgan Schneiderlin was sent off for the visitors for two second-half bookings, with Everton creating the better chances to settle the game.
Everton boss Marco Silva felt an ankle injury to midfielder Andre Gomes may have been the moment his side lost their early dominance, with his replacement - 23-year-old debutant Jean-Philippe Gbamin - unable to fill the void.
"In the first half, we were clearly the best team on the pitch. During that period was the key moment in the game in my opinion - the injury to Gomes," he said.
"Until that moment, we were solid and playing well and creating chances and then of course when I change and bring in Jean-Philippe Gbamin, he had some problems.
"It is normal and you need to adapt when you sign new players, and young players come to a new competition.
"It is always a problem and it was key for us because we started losing easy balls during the second half and it was then when they created two chances to score from counter-attacks."