Neil Warnock: Wilfried Zaha is 'far better' than some Manchester United players

Wilfried Zaha playing for Crystal Palace

The 22-year-old winger is currently on loan at Crystal Palace from Manchester United.

Zaha rejoined his former club during the summer transfer window, signing a season-long loan-deal with the Eagles.

It was with Palace that Zaha came to the attention of the Red Devils management, with his return of 12 goals in 110 games forcing Alex Ferguson to spend a reported £10 million outlay on the youngster. He stayed with Palace for the second half of the 2012/13 season, and helped his hometown team win the Championship Play-Off Final, before linking up with the Red Devils at the start of last season.

However, he failed to have an impact at Old Trafford, making just two Premier League appearances, before being shipped off to Cardiff City on loan for the second half of the campaign. He played 10 games for the side as they fell to relegation, but he did too little to work his way into the plans of new United head coach Louis van Gaal, who allowed him to leave Manchester again.

He has since turned out six times for the Eagles, starting three games, and scoring one goal - an injury-time equaliser on his debut against Newcastle United. The youngster will be hoping that his impact at Selhurst Park increases heading into 2015, as he looks to impress the watching United scouts, but Eagles boss Neil Warnock believes that Zaha will have no trouble breaking through at Old Trafford - as he is better than their current players.

Talking to Sky Sports, Warnock said: “We played United recently and I think Wilfried is far better than some of those in the team. Managers like players, and if they sign the player they seem to have a bit more faith in them or support them. But I think Wilfried knows he has to change as well.

“There are some parts of his game he has to change to become a top player and that's what he is working on at the moment, because he wants to be a top player.”

It is a bold claim for Warnock to make, with Zaha only ever impressing in the Championship, but how does the 22-year-old actually compare with the likes of Angel Di Maria, Juan Mata and Antonio Valencia.

  PositionTeamMins PlayedGoalsTotal ShotsAssistsKey PassesDribbles WonAppearances
Wayne Rooney FW Man Utd 869 5 31 2 15 27 10
Ángel Di María MF Man Utd 838 3 33 6 31 56 11
Juan Mata MF Man Utd 694 3 10 1 15 8 10
Antonio Valencia MF Man Utd 642 0 1 0 6 10 9
Adnan Januzaj MF Man Utd 408 0 14 0 8 19 9
Wilfried Zaha MF C. Palace 273 1 8 1 4 29 6

Whilst Zaha is far off the talents of Di Maria and Mata, he has impressed more that Valencia and Adnan Januzaj - despite playing less minutes. The comparison with Valencia is slightly skewed as the Ecuadorian is playing as a make-shift full-back, but Zaha has done enough in his limited time the season to warrant a place in the Manchester United first-team when he returns to Old Trafford next season.

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