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Pardew Hails "Brilliant" Zaha

13 December 2016

Alan Pardew has hailed Wilfried Zaha's recent form following the winger's electrifying turn at the KCOM Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Palace host Manchester United at Selhurst Park on Wednesday evening and Zaha will be hoping to build on the three goals and six assists he's already registered in the Premier League this term.

"He's in brilliant form," Pardew said in his pre-match press conference. "I hear a lot of people criticised him for his lack of assists, lack of goals, but the solution laid on the training ground, in himself and in my coaches, my training team - myself, Kevin Keen, Keith Millen - [we kept] grinding on him about his finishing and his end product and it's now becoming a feature of his game.

"Now everybody's assuming that he's changed, but he hasn't changed, sometimes it's age, it's experience - the experience of going to Man United and it not working out, then coming here and re-working his game. It's all part of growing up.

"The form he's in now, England are making a big mistake letting him slip through the net, they really are," added the gaffer.

"Gareth's someone I know very well, of course, and we've spoken about Wilf. I keep saying England have let him slip through the net, but you've got to be really proactive with someone like Wilf if you want to secure him. I keep encouraging them, Dan Ashworth as well."

Zaha has already bettered last season's league goal tally in 20 fewer games and is second in the charts for assists, with only Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne ahead of him on seven. The 24-year-old is also among Europe's best dribblers, successfully completing the second highest number of take ons in the top flight this term.

"When I look at Wilf and I look at the talent [he's got], I can't see that talent in too many English players in the Premier League who are playing regularly week in, week out," said Pardew. "Even when he doesn't play well [offensively], he does his defensive duties and he has to do his job. A bit of that goes unseen on Wilf's side of the picture, but he's stacking up the numbers and he's doing everything else. They really need to keep their eye on that situation."

CLICK HERE to watch the full press conference.

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