Revealed: Former Zaha coach on why Wilf is not doing a Januzaj

Two heralded Manchester United starlets but each has trodden an alternative path. Why?

Crystal Palace fans heralded the exceptional rise to prominence of Wilfried Zaha when the young forward was an Eagle, claiming the attacker had more natural talent than another of their favourite sons - Ian Wright.

Zaha was on the shopping list of a number of clubs, yet it was Manchester United who secured the player's signature this time last year, loaned him back to Palace to continue receiving regular first-team football but, since linking up with the senior Red Devils last summer, he has struggled to break into David Moyes' preferred selection.

It is not a case of Moyes not giving youngsters a chance. After all, he has a proven history of guiding youngsters into his first XI whilst at Everton and, even this season, he has entrusted exciting midfield creator Adnan Januzaj, 18, with increased responsibility - and Januzaj has responded with three goals, three assists, 18 key chances and an 80% pass completion rate from 16 Premier League appearances.

Zaha, three years older than Januzaj, has failed to make an impact despite the obvious talent he showed at his former club. He has participated in just 30 minutes of Premier League football and there are rumours he may well leave the club once again on loan.

Why have these two prospects experienced such a contrast in fortunes?

Zaha's previous mentor at Palace, Neil Warnock, alludes to the possibility that it may come down to maturity… not in terms of mentality, but in play… to take the chances offered to you, whilst still excelling. Januzaj has basically made himself un-droppable.

'There's no doubt that Wilfred has got tremendous talent on the field of play,' Warnock told talkSPORT. 'People have mentioned things about his attitude, though, and there's a question mark there. I understand why David doesn't want him to come back to London [on loan] because that would be a disaster. It's imperative he gets out and sees if he can stand on his own two feet.

'It's difficult for young lads, they've got loads of money and lots of people telling them things off the field. He's got a load of hangers-on in London. He's got to realise he hasn't done anything yet. He's got a fantastic contract but he's got to show people week-in, week-out he can do the business at the top level. Then he can start demanding things. Until he does that consistently, he's got to get on with it.'

Zaha has been linked with a temporary switch to Cardiff City, where he could link up with United legend Ole Gunnar Solksjaer.

image: © Tom Brogan

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