Please note, there are some minor spoilers in the below. If you don't know Palace's story fully and haven't watched When Eagles Dare yet, find out how you can here!
The Ivorian is a product of the Crystal Palace Academy, with his development at the club beginning aged eight. He made his debut for Palace at 17 as a substitute against Cardiff City in the 2009/10 season, though his first full start came at the beginning of the 2010/11 season where he scored the opening goal in a 3-2 win over Leicester City.
The teenage Zaha predominantly featured on the wing and became an integral part of the team almost immediately with his pace, flair and trickery. His breakthrough season in 2010/11 saw him win the club’s Young Player of the Season award, and he carried on to be a mainstay in the team.
In 2012/13, Zaha’s performances were rewarded with a move to Manchester United in the January transfer window, though he was loaned back to Palace for the remainder of the season to help them see out the rest of the season.
“When I signed for United I specifically asked if I could go back to Palace on loan to finish off the season,” Zaha told the club in 2020. “We had unfinished business.”
His performances were so well received during the 2012/13 season he even managed to earn two caps for the England national team. These proved to be his only caps for England as he changed his allegiance to represent the Ivory Coast, the country of his birth, to play in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
A brief spell at United saw Zaha return to south London on loan once more during the 2013/14 season before making the move back permanent in January 2014.
The man himself reflects on the time as being “a shell of Wilfried Zaha.”
“It wasn’t me at all,” he has said. “People never got the real me when I was there. I was a ghost of myself at the club, I didn’t used to speak to anyone, I used to just go there and do what I had to do and then go back home. I just wasn’t myself.”
Since returning, Zaha has amassed almost 400 appearances for the Eagles across his two spells, scoring 68 goals in the process, along with winning the club’s Player of the Season award for three seasons in a row from 2015 to 2018.
As of today, he remains one of the key players in the current Palace squad and the Ivory Coast national team.
In When Eagles Dare, Zaha features throughout each of the five enticing episodes to give an insight into the 2012/13 season and all of his time at the club. Click here to get more info and watch When Eagles Dare.