'Pains me to say it': Brighton legend pays tribute to 'magic' Crystal Palace man

25 Mar 2000:  Kerry Mayo of Brighton and Hove Albion in action during the Nationwide League Division Three match against Barnet at Underhill Stadium in London.  Brighton and Hove Albion...

Crystal Palace have taken four Premier League points off Brighton this season with Wilfried Zaha shining in both games.

Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace looks on during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace at American Express Community Stadium on February 29, 2020 in...

Brighton and Hove Albion legend Kerry Mayo has put his allegiances to one side while paying a reluctant tribute to Crystal Palace talisman Wilfried Zaha, speaking to Love Sport Radio.

While Roy Hodgson’s side may not be one of the most entertaining outfits in the Premier League, they do have a forward with world-class talent in his twinkling toes.

There is a reason why Zaha is valued at a staggering £80 million and the Ivory Coast international has proved as much in two games against Palace’s bitter rivals this season.

 

The enigmatic winger grabbed a point for the Eagles with a scorching drive in December’s 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park before running Graham Potter’s defence ragged as Palace triumphed 1-0 in the reverse fixture on Saturday.

And Mayo, who played over 400 games for Brighton between 1995 and 2009, wishes the relegation-threatened Seagulls had a player with Zaha’s game-changing ability in their ranks.

"I don't think there's anybody there (at the Amex) that you could honestly say could take the game, with a moment of magic, and take it by the scruff of the neck,” Mayo says.

Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace is closed down by Solomon March of Brighton and Hove Albion  during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace at American...

“Wilf Zaha is something else, it pains for me to say it as a Crystal Palace player but he's a great player. I think he's a top 10 player in the country and Palace you know, they've done a great job keeping him.”

Mayo remains hopeful that Alexis MacAllister, the £7 million Argentine sensation, could yet prove to be Brighton’s answer to Zaha.

An attacking midfielder with skill and vision in abundance, MacAllister arrived on the South Coast in February after a loan spell at Boca Juniors but he is yet to make his long-awaited debut.

Alexis Mac Allister of Boca Juniors drives the ball  during a match between Boca Juniors and unions as part of Superliga 2019

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