Zaha clearly has immense talent he won the Football League Young Player of the Year Award in March 2012 after scoring nine goals and providing five assists in 48 games while also winning his first full England cap against Sweden in November 2012. Zaha can play as a striker but is more commonly used by Crystal Palace as a winger, this in my opinion creates a lot of issues.
Already in the Manchester United squad are wingers such as Antonio Valencia, Nani and Ashley Young, while some people still believe there could be a potential return of Cristiano Ronaldo. Based on this, I struggle to think how Zaha would get game time next season.
There are a few possible solutions:
Zaha could be loaned out again
Look at the impact loaning young players out has, take Jack Wilshere and Daniel Sturridge’s loans to Bolton, Romelu Lukaku’s loan to West Brom and Danny Welbeck’s loan to Sunderland. All players have significantly improved since their respective loans and this could be how Wilfried Zaha makes his first Premier League impact.
Rumours have been flying round for months now about Nani leaving in the summer and this does leave a gap in United’s wing department. However Nani is predominately a left-winger whilst Zaha is a right-winger, this leaves Antonio Valencia who is the only recognised right-winger in Manchester United squad, however I don’t think he will be leaving any time soon as he is liked by Sir Alex Ferguson and is 27 years old so he still has at least another five years at this level in him. So I believe this isn’t a likely solution
Fight for his place
Although I would obviously hate to see a player of Zaha’s potential being wasted on the United bench, I struggle to see him being picked ahead of the likes of Valencia next season, this could lead to him ‘bench warming’ for United. Take players like Scott Sinclair, Jack Rodwell and even Danny Welbeck. All three rose to fame last season, Sinclair for Swansea, Rodwell for Everton and Welbeck playing for United, Sinclair and Rodwell were on the brink of England call-ups, Rodwell was capped for England and Sinclair playing in London 2012 for Team GB, something that injury prevented Rodwell doing too. Both took big moves to Manchester City and have seen their careers stall this begs the questions would they have been better off playing week in week out for their previous clubs?
Although injury has prevented Rodwell from making as many appearances as he probably would I still don’t see him being picked ahead of Yaya Toure, James Milner and Javi Garcia. Welbeck has sunk down the pecking order since Robin Van Persie’s arrival at Old Trafford and his career has since stalled scoring just the once in Premier League action this season clearly being behind RVP, Rooney and even Chicharito hasn’t helped his development.
Whatever happens to Wilfried Zaha I hope he gets his chance to shine and hopefully become a key player for not just Manchester United but for England too.