Quick links

Manchester United

Ex-boss on Zaha struggles at United - 'Even Cristiano Ronaldo needed time to adapt'

The ex-Crystal Palace winger has been marginalised at Old Trafford since his arrival and looks set for a loan to Cardiff but his former boss sees positives

Bolton Wanderers manager Dougie Freedman believes the tough love shown by David Moyes to Wilfried Zaha at Manchester United will put the former Crystal Palace winger in good stead for the future.

Zaha has cut a frustrated figure for United ever since joining the club from Palace for £15m in the summer and is reportedly on the cusp of a loan move to Cardiff City until the end of the season as he desperately seeks first-team football.

Former United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is likely to exploit his contacts within the club to pip a host of fellow suitors to snap up Zaha on a temporary loan spell but Freedman believes Moyes' treatment of Zaha will serve the youngster well in the long run.

"It’s funny how things have worked out with the timing of his move," said Freedman. "I have always been a huge admirer of Wilfried but have never been on the opposite side to him before.

"It will have been frustrating for him at United so far because all he has ever known in his career from 16 has been first-team football. All he really understands is playing on Saturday, recovering and being ready for the next game.

"So leaving London to join a huge club like United and finding opportunities scarce will not have been easy for him. It will have been a big test for him, but he is a strong character, and I am certain he will come through it."

Freedman refutes claims that the move was not right for Zaha, insisting there is very little you can choose to do when a top side enters the running to sign a player.

"I’m still convinced it was the right move," he added. "When a club like United come knocking you can’t turn them down. It’s just that they’ve had a difficult time, and I imagine David Moyes feels it would not be ideal to throw two youngsters in, with another (Adnan Januzaj) on the other wing.

"But there is no doubt he will be a success at United. A lot of young players there will have worked their way up the ranks and had to be patient, but Wilf has never had to face that.

"It’s something he is now learning, and that’s no bad thing. Even Cristiano Ronaldo needed time to adapt.

"He will go to Cardiff now, spend a few months playing Premier League football and then go back and prove he should be in United’s team next season. I’m sure of that."

Will Wilfried Zaha be a success in the long term for Manchester United?

image: © Tom Brogan

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch