Ex Crystal Palace captain, Shaun Derry has come out to say that seeing Wilfried Zaha play for the first time was an enlightening experience.
Shaun revealed that Zaha played football like he’d never seen the game played before even if he still was very raw, inexperienced and young.
According to him, the English youngster was introverted and all he did was come in to play football without talking too much.
He added that the way Zaha played with absolute freedom at that very tender age was very enlightening for him.
His words, “The first-team and the scholars used to share the site and we’d always see Wilf watching sessions and watching our players conducting themselves,”
“I remember watching one of his earlier training sessions and seeing this young boy who played football like I’d never seen football played before. Something very raw took place on the training field, something off the streets. As a 30-year-old who’d been in the game for 14 years, it was a new occurrence for me.
“Being captain of a team that was plunged into potential relegation on the back of falling into administration, to see this young kid play the game with absolute freedom was enlightening for me.”
“He was very introverted. He would come in, do his work and be no problem,”
“He was a good player and a top player, one of the top five in the group. But he wasn’t someone who, as a 16-year-old, played up in the Under-18s, which lots of players have done and continue to do as early developers. His was a slow process.”
“For the first three or four months, he was getting used to full-time training and the professionalism of everything and he didn’t play as much as he’d like in the Under-18s.”
“Steve Bould made a comment to me about Wilf when he was taking Arsenal’s youth team. So did Gary Brazil, who was an experienced coach at Fulham. [They said] how many problems he caused them, what a handful he was on the day and how difficult he was to play against.
“There were more and more people outside of our club who we were playing against and he was making a mark. People would think that’s commonplace, it’s not. It’s only every now and again that people comment on special players in your team.”