Wilfried Zaha is Crystal Palace's 'bravest' player, says Paddy McCarthy

Written by FYP Fanzine


Crystal Palace legend Paddy McCarthy has praised Wilfried Zaha as "brave" for taking the weekly whackings he does from literally every team the Eagles play.

Speaking at the FYP Live Podcast was asked about playing and training with a young Zaha, who broke into the first team in 2010 just as McCarthy as team-mates were dealing with the club being in administration.

A few months later that game at Hillsborough saved the club, Zaha because a regular the following season and the rest is history.

When asked if Zaha was the best player he had ever played with, McCarthy didn't hesitate; "Yeah. 100%. "In terms of natural ability I've never seen anything like it, I just haven't and I just think he's getting stronger and stronger as the years go by.

And when asked if he had ever played against anyone better than Wilf it was a similarly emphatic: "No."

"I'd have a word with the referee...quietly. That's been happening to Wilf since he came into the first team, it's probably getting highlighted more in the modern game but when Wilf made his breakthrough he was getting kicked from pillar to post. I think every game I played with Wilfried I had to go and speak to the referee "Can you protect him? Is this going to happen every time he gets the ball where they kick the living daylights out of him?"

"But all credit to Wilf and this is where you have to understand how brave Wilfried is as a lad. people probably look at defensive players; myself, Shaun Derry, Clint Hill and probably think "oh they were brave, they were tough, they were hard"...but compared to Wilfried...because I can kick people but Wilfried actually knows when he's got the ball that he's going to get kicked, he's running at 100 miler per hour that's a different type of bravery. They're the brave ones. And to continue to do that, continue to run at people even knowing that you're going to get your legs kicked off you, that just shows you how brave he is as a football player.

"I think it's a tactical thing at the moment, the tactical foul. It's something that Liverpool use quite a lot, Man City...a lot teams are using this sort of thing.

"I've trained against Wilfried since he was a kit and sometime you are genuinely going for the football and he is that good that he will make you think you can get the ball and just as you get there he will flick it away from you and ultimately you're going to kick him. He's that special that sometimes it's not actually intentional, sometimes I think he leads defenders into believing they can win the ball when they actually can't because he's so quick off the mark, he's so skilful and he's such a talented player. "

Listen to Paddy McCarthy chat Hillsborough, coaching the U18s, that goal at Derby, Poo-gate and many more Palace memories on the FYP Live Podcast below...