29. WILFRIED ZAHA
|Birthdate:||10 Nov 1992|
|Birthplace:||Abidjan, Ivory Coast|
|Joined United:||01 Jul 2013|
Quite simply, Wilfried Zaha is one of the most talented and exciting English prospects to grace the game in recent years.
The former Crystal Palace forward joined United in January 2013 before moving back to Selhurst Park on loan until the season end, ultimately helping the Eagles secure promotion to the Barclays Premier League via the play-offs whilst winning the Championship Player of the Year award.
All of the above isn’t bad for a man who only made his first team debut in March 2010 thanks to caretaker manager Paul Hart, who handed the youngster a 10 minute cameo against Cardiff City. A month
later, Zaha was awarded a professional contract and he never looked back.
The 2010/11 term started brightly with a full debut and a goal, prompting a successful season that would yield an impressive 44 appearances and Crystal Palace’s Young Player of the Year award – a gong he would retain the following season following another highly promising campaign.
Of course, Zaha would first arrive at Old Trafford during the 2011/12 season, producing an impressive individual performance as Palace shocked the world by recording a 2-1 win over United in the League Cup, an outing that would evidently attract the attention of Sir Alex Ferguson.
14 months later, the then-boss signed Wilfried, telling reporters: “As we like to do, we sign young players with potential. We can also develop players well here. That’s proved to be the case many times. Hopefully the boy will enjoy it coming here when he eventually does join us in the summer.” Shortly before, his development and promise had caught the eye of England manager Roy Hodgson, who decided to hand the youngster his first international debut during a friendly defeat to Sweden in November – suggesting a bright future for both club and country lies ahead.