Wilf he ever get a chance? Zaha’s United career could play out like so many of England’s past young hopes

Coment by Tom Belger

Wilfried Zaha left Manchester United yesterday to join Cardiff City on loan until the end of the season but does he have a future at Old Trafford when he returns?

The England International has only made two starts since moving from Crystal Palace and many feel he’s been left out in the cold by David Moyes.

Rumours of a poor lifestyle off the pitch have been linked to his lack of appearances this season but it seems bizarre that the £15 million man hasn’t been used more often considering United’s poor form this season.

During pre-season Zaha featured in every game of United’s Asia tour and started in the Community Shield against Wigan making it seem like he was an integral part of Moyes’ new look United.

However, he soon fell down the pecking order behind Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia, Nani and Adnan Januzaj.

Why he was usurped by all four of these wingers is unclear.

Zaha was impressive during pre-season so much so that he earned his first England cap in a 3-2 win over Scotland at Wembley in August.

Also the form of Young, Valencia and Nani has been considered poor by many.

All three have lacked firepower this season failing to create enough chances and their inconsistency has been considered to be the reason for Moyes’ poor start to his United management.

Therefore, surely he should have been given a chance in the team rather than be demoted down to the reserves where he isn’t challenged.

Last season’s stats prove why Sir Alex Ferguson brought the 21-year-old to Old Trafford he was much more effective than United’s current wingers and Ferguson hoped he could offer something fresh to United’s attack.

PlayerAppearances  (Starts)AssistsGoals


Although he was playing in the Championship he was the catalyst behind Crystal Palace’s promotion to the Premier League.

So why when things were going wrong did Moyes feel reluctant to use him?

It’s not as if Moyes has a problem with putting faith in younger players as he has made 18-year-old Januzaj such an integral part of his team.

He has put a lot of faith in the Belgium born midfielder starting him in games against Tottenham and Chelsea as well as letting him play in the number ten playmaker role.

So why hasn’t he given Zaha this backing?

At many times this season United have been lacking spark especially when going forward so surely something different is needed.

The introduction of Januzaj gave them that but surely Zaha should have been given a chance as well considering the inconsistent form of Nani, Valencia and Young.

Instead Zaha has only featured twice in the league this season coming on as a substitute against Newcastle and Aston Villa where he appeared for a grand total of 40 minutes.

This has meant United have been unable to get the best out of the England youngster’s pace and direct approach which United are in desperate need of.

What Zaha is suffering from though has been a common problem for young English wingers who have made the step up to top four clubs.

Other examples of where rising talents have been made outcasts at top four clubs include Adam Johnson, Scott Sinclair and Shaun Wright-Phillips.

Like Zaha they all moved to a big club after impressing lower down the league and failed to reach the level required.

Wright-Phillips was unable to recover his career and began to shipped out to clubs lower down the league table while Sinclair and Johnson are currently having to rebuild their careers at mid table clubs.

The worry is the same thing which happened to Wright-Phillips could happen to Zaha.

Luckily he has been allowed to go out on loan to Cardiff City for the remainder of the season.

Here he has a chance to make regular appearances in the Premier League and play some good attacking football under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s management.

Solskjaer could be the man to revive Zaha’s United career and do his old club a favour by showing Moyes what he has been missing.

Whilst being in charge of United’s reserve team Solskjaer helped develop players such as Tom Cleverley, Danny Welbeck and Rafael Da Silva so United fans will hope he can bring out the best in Zaha.

A question remains though will he be given a chance once he returns from Cardiff?

Even if he impresses whilst on loan at the Cardiff City stadium, United are heading in a new direction.

The signing of Juan Mata and with Wayne Rooney about to sign a new contract United’s attacking play is set to take a much more central approach.

Therefore, the need for wide players is unlikely to be required as Moyes models his new United.

So don’t be surprised if Zaha never returns from his loan move as Moyes clearly is not a fan of the England youngster’s talents and is likely to let him move on.

Image courtesy of ESPNUK via YouTube, with thanks.

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