When Wilfried Zaha signed his new contract on Wednesday morning there was no one more delighted than Palace boss Roy Hodgson, and he is under no illusion that a player of Zaha's ability will play a pivotal role in the future success of the club.
“It’s very good that the player of his ability has committed his long term future to the club. We think very highly of him both as a person and a player and he has a talismanic quality when it comes to being from this part of the world, starting his career at Crystal Palace. All of those things need to be factored in.
“We are obviously delighted that this is where he wants to be because when you sign a contract of that length and magnitude it means that where you intend to be for the coming years and it gives the chairman and Dougie Freedman a chance to do some very serious planning. Of course he is a player who we want to be doing our planning around.”
Hodgson has no doubts that when the very top players are being discussed as the best in the league, Zaha's name should be right up there.
“He is very good. All players have got qualities and there aren’t many who can do every single thing – but he scores top marks in so many aspects an when it comes to dribbling and manipulating the ball and going past opponents. I’d put him up there with the very best.
“It’s obvious to Wilf all the way through that as far as I and my coaching staff were concerned, we have been very anxious for him to sign a new contract and be happy going into the new season with it. We’ve made it clear to him that we were grateful of course for what he did for us last season as he did a lot with his goal and assists. We have tried to make it clear to him that we need a lot more of that going forward, and that he’s telling himself he can do even more when it comes to scoring and assisting with our goal record this season.”