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Envious Eagles: Zaha deserves United run

WILFRIED ZAHA deserves his chance to shine at Manchester United despite speculation over a loan return to Crystal Palace, according to Eagles co-chairman Steve Parish.

The England U-21 regular lit up Wembley on Monday with his wing wizardry as he led Palace to Championship play-off final glory over Watford, in what was his final match before completing a switch to Old Trafford.

Zaha agreed a deal to join the Premier League champions in January for around £15million, before being loaned back to his boyhood club over the second half of the season to fulfil a dream which ended in some style on the Wembley turf.

Promotion has sparked talk of the 20-year-old again being loaned to the Eagles by new United boss David Moyes, but Selhurst Park chief Parish believes Zaha will be a central part of United's bid to retain their top-flight crown next term rather than Palace's battle for survival.

"Wilf, in those three (play-off) games, was the best player on the pitch, he's in a different league," said a proud and relieved Parish after his club's 1-0 extra-time victory.

"I honestly think he'll go to Manchester United and do really well, I really do. People are saying, 'Will you loan him back?'. I think he deserves his chance there, and I think he'll get it."

Palace manager Ian Holloway admitted he was tempted to ask Moyes if he could borrow Zaha again next season, but admitted "he'd be silly to give me him back".

Zaha was the liveliest performer and brought the play-off final alive every time he got on the ball, with another one of his runs drawing a foul for the match-winning penalty converted by Kevin Phillips. Evergreen striker Phillips, 39, is at the opposite end of his football journey. He rates Zaha, along with Blackpool's Tom Ince, right up there.

"Wilfried and Tom are two of the most exciting young talents in this country at the moment," Phillips said.

"They're both awesome players and got their own strengths, but Wilf is a raw talent. He does things I'm not sure even sometimes he knows how he does it, the ball seems to have Velcro on it.

"He's still got a lot to learn and if he does learn, I'm looking forward to watching him progress over the coming years."


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