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Zaha is a star

Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway says Eagles starlet Wilfried Zaha will play at the highest level - if he listens to his current boss.

Last Updated: 11/01/13 at 10:40 Post Comment

Zaha's performances for the South London side have attracted the interest of a horde of Premier League clubs, with a report in Thursday's Sun claiming that Man United were closing on a £12million deal for the 20-year-old winger.

Holloway - who took charge of Championship high-flyers Palace in November - reckons the Ivorian-born trickster has the talent and temperament to flourish at a big club.

But he says Zaha - who made his England debut during a friendly against Sweden in late 2012 - must heed his advice, and not become swayed by "nonsense" promises from agents.

"I've told Wilf that he will get there if he keeps working hard for my team like Lionel Messi does for his," Holloway told The Footballers' Football Show.

"If Barcelona lose the ball Messi chases back after it and if that's good enough for the best player in the world, it's good enough for everyone else.

"But Wilf is a team player, has unbelievable talent and deserves to get to the top of the game so I don't want this speculation to go away.

"It might or might not be with Man United but I believe he will be a top, top, top, top player - if he isn't already.

Guidance

"I just have to keep him going and make sure that these people who say nonsense like: 'What contract do you want? How much money do you want? I can get you this, I can get you that', don't get to him.

"He doesn't need any agent in the world to help him get to the top; he needs the right guidance from me as I'm the only one who can help him. If I ring people up and tell them about Zaha they will listen to me - they won't listen to an agent.

"He will outgrow Crystal Palace, even if we get promoted, but if this deal happens I will have looked after my team, who have helped Wilf get into this position, and helped Wilf, too."

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Former Sunderland, Manchester City and Plymouth boss Peter Reid joined Holloway on The FF Show panel and said that at this stage of Zaha's career, it is vital that he plays first-team matches.

"It's important at the age of 20 that players get games as that's where you learn," added Reid.

"The training pitch is great but there's nothing like a matchday when you are out there in front of the crowd against opponents who want to win games."

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