Manchester United player set for not-so-happy anniversary on Tuesday

As Wilfried Zaha is omitted from the England squad almost exactly a year since his first call-up, what next for the United winger?

Wow everything’s happening so fast.”

Those were the words of Wilfried Zaha after the then-Crystal Palace winger received his first call-up to the England national team back in November 2012.

And his words seemed to be more akin to a prophecy when he completed his move from Selhurst Park to Manchester United just two months later.

Given his swift elevation at both club and international level, the announcement of the latest youth-tinged England squad would surely have contained his name. But a year after his debut against Sweden, he has only one other international appearance to his name: a late cameo against Scotland back in August.

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While the likes of Adam Lallana, Jay Rodriguez and Ross Barkley have a chance to impress against Chile and Germany later this month, Zaha will be on under-21 duty. And while he will be playing in qualifiers rather than friendlies, given the excitement generated by his first senior call-up last season, many would have expected him to have left Gareth Southgate’s squad behind by now.

In truth his move to Old Trafford has been revelatory for all the wrong reasons; the revelation being that a player tipped to take the top flight by storm has rarely even set foot on the pitch.

At just 20 years of age, Zaha has plenty of time to develop as a player both for United and for England, and if the rumours of a January loan move prove true, he could still give Hodgson food for thought as he contemplates his squad for the World Cup next summer.

But if Zaha allows himself a moment to reflect on the anniversary of his first senior England call-up next Tuesday, he will surely realise that as fast as everything once appeared to be going, his progress has slowed considerably since.

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image: © Tom Brogan

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