Wilfried Zaha recently returned to where it all began in south London, to the Premier League Kicks centre in Croydon that he used to attend as a fresh-faced youngster who had dreams of becoming a Premier League footballer.
After signing autographs, taking photos and offering advice to the latest crop of young south Londoners hoping to follow in similar footsteps to Zaha, the Palace winger caught up with former teammate, Darren Ambrose, and looked back at their time together.
The pair went through alot as Eagles, and both were full of praise for former manager, and current Sporting Director, Dougie Freedman, with Zaha sharing a couple of amusing anecdotes:
“With him [Freedman] being a striker, he helped me massively with the runs I had to make and practising on my left foot, right foot. And he was on my case as well. Relentless!
“Even some of the small stuff. I remember I was late for something and he made me pay for…I can’t remember what he made me pay for but those times that money meant so much to me. It was small things like that, that made me stay on the right path. It was enjoyable playing for him, just the way he worked was strict but at the same time he knew how to have a laugh.
“The way the team worked was like robots, everyone knew their position and what they were supposed to do, even when he left, we carried on winning; the way he left the team…everyone knew their jobs, it’s so much easier when you know exactly what to do when you get on the pitch.”
Talk - naturally - turned to *that* night at Old Trafford, with Ambrose’s recollection of the 90 minutes up in Manchester is not of his worldie, but of the performance Zaha put in: “That was the time the world of football took notice of you. We all knew what you could do. Again, talking as a senior pro, I came away obviously scoring a goal, it was half decent. But I remember saying: ‘alright, I scored, we won, but wow!’ I think you ended three full-backs careers that night!"
To see what Zaha had to say about that night away at Manchester United, plus plenty more, watch the full video below!