Winger Wilfried Zaha is in line for an enormous season at Manchester United next year.
Wilfried Zaha could quickly find himself running the right or left side of the Manchester United midfield, which he did successfully enough for Crystal Palace in the Championship to earn himself a transfer in the first place.
The inability of Nani, Antonio Valencia or Ashley Young to show any sort of consistency in wide areas this season means that Sir Alex Ferguson may have no choice but to throw Zaha in at the deep end next season.
Time and time again the trio of wingers in the current United squad have been given chances to impress and each time they have failed to do so, leaving Ferguson with a headache over the combination of players to use in wide roles.
Zaha has been performing to a very high level, all be it in a lower league, but his performances earned him that move and also call ups to the England Under-21 and England senior sides.
Nani is probably the best winger United have at the moment in terms of being able to run at the opposition defence and make things happen inside the opponent’s final third.
His future is up in the air and Valencia and Young just don’t look confident enough at the moment to be able to hold down one of the starting wide positions and produce the sort of form which earned them moves to United in the first place.
The introduction of Zaha could have a number of beneficial effects with one of the most obvious being his pace going forward, which has the ability to exploit any team playing with a high line.
United could also get him into the team quickly because of the quality Rafael has shown at right back this season, which means United don’t necessarily have to play with a defensively minded winger down that side of the pitch.
Zaha’s build up play and the way he links with the rest of a midfield and attack is another reason that United need to get him into the team. When things aren’t working for him in the wider areas, he’s shown initiative before in terms of finding ways to become more effective and get involved in the game.
That’s a side of wide play that United haven’t had since Cristiano Ronaldo left the club because Valencia, going through his golden spell in the last couple of years, was always an out and out wide player.
There is a clear and huge gap in the United team at the moment which Zaha could exploit. There is a position up for grabs and he’s the sort of young man who could relish and thrive on the opportunity.
It will be difficult because Ferguson and United fans everywhere will be expecting much better from the wide men who stay at the club ahead of next season but all of the best youngsters have to start somewhere.
How influential can Zaha be at United next season?
image: © jamesboyes