Wilfried Zaha is playing for his starting place at Manchester United

Wilfried Zaha is playing for his starting place at Manchester United this afternoon in the Championship play-off final.

It would be fitting if Zaha signed off from his spell with Crystal Palace by producing the sort of performance which fires them into the top flight.

If that happens he’ll be up against his current side next season wearing a Manchester United shirt and he has extra incentive to play well this afternoon with David Moyes bound to be watching on.

There is a clear place for Zaha in the current United side if he can prove he has the consistency and the maturity needed to become one of the leading wingers for the Premier League champions next season.

The troubles of Nani, Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia last season were clear for all to see, as not one of that trio could produce the sort of consistency we’ve come to expect from wide men at United.

Zaha is one of the most exciting young wingers in England, which is the reason United shelled out millions of pounds for him before any of their rivals could react and get a better deal together.

Moyes probably has no idea over how to use Zaha at the moment or what he’s about as a young man because when they signed him, he was still very much committed to Everton and guiding them to a European finish.

It’s a win, win situation for Zaha because if he plays well, he stands a great chance of getting a starting spot as soon as he goes to Old Trafford and if Palace lose, he’s still leaving for a huge club with his reputation in tact.

What he has to do against Watford is show the same sort of exciting attacking play, which was too good for Brighton in the play-off semi-final second leg but also the maturity it takes in his own final third.

Moyes will not throw Zaha into the United first team if he thinks it will weaken the left or right side of his team, exposing the full back and leaving him with no protection at all.

That’s one of the reasons Valencia has been such a popular and productive player for United, because he knows what it takes to play the defensive role of being a winger at United.

If Zaha shows that today and isn’t completely focused on pressing forward for the entire 90 minutes, then a starting place at United is his ahead of the new season.

If he can force himself into the reckoning and play well during the pre-season games and the Community Shield, then he’ll have that chance which he could only have dreamt of at the start of this current campaign.

At the moment, Moyes will more than likely choose the safer option for United but Zaha has 90 minutes today, his last 90 minutes of the season, to show how good he can be on the biggest stage and under the most pressure.

After all, that’s something he’ll face at United every single week.

Do you think Zaha will win Palace the game today? Is he good enough to start for United?

image: © jamesboyes

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