We catch up with the CRYSTAL PALACE trick machine and grill him with top questions from MATCH readers. Get in there!
How did it feel to sign your first pro contract? From: carys_wolves
WILF says: “I was like, ‘My God, I’ve made it!’ It was a great feeling and it’s nice when all the hard work pays off. It’s like parents’ evening – you come in with your mum or dad and sit down with a coach, and while you’re there someone else will leave in tears. Luckily, I was happy with the answer I got!”
What was it like when you scored your first goal? From: Tom W.
WILF says: “My first goal was against Leicester at home on my first start. It was a flick-on, I let it bounce over the defender’s head, then I volleyed it over the keeper. I remember it like it was yesterday! I didn’t know what to do – I went crazy, running all over the pitch!”
Who’s your favourite team to play against? From: Jack O.
WILF says: “Arsenal’s stadium is really nice and it’s not intimidating, so I can just play my game without having the fans all over me! They’ve always had really nice pitches, even in the academy, and the Emirates is like that too.”
Who was your football idol growing up? From: Oliver
WILF says: “Ronaldinho, because obviously he was very skilful and I base my game on skills, so I looked at him and thought, ‘Wow!’ I used to watch him on YouTube all the time, even before our matches, and everything he did was unreal!”
Who is Palace’s most superstitious player? From: Abi D.
WILF says: “James McArthur does a million different things before going out – I’d be tired if I did all the warm-ups he does! He’ll put bands around his legs and do a little run over here, then you’ll see him doing press-ups over there – he’s all over the place! I say ‘Bro, you don’t need to know 20 different things!’”
Who’s the toughest player you’ve faced? From: Matthew M.
WILF says: “Probably Antonio Valencia at Man. United. He’s strong and fast, so whatever you do you have to make sure it’s right, because it’s so hard to get away from him. We’ve had a few battles and he’s a really good defender!”
You’re a top skiller – what’s your fave trick? From: Omar A.
WILF says: “The one that has a 100% success rate is just a stepover, especially when I go onto my weaker foot, because defenders don’t expect it. I did it to Otamendi at Man. City and he just fell on the floor! When it works, that’s how it looks!”
What is your favourite moment as a footballer? From: Josh M.
WILF says: “The two goals I scored at Brighton in the 2013 Championship play-off semi-final. Not because of the rivalry, but the odds against us. Glenn Murray had scored 30 goals for us that season, but he got injured in the home game, so we were missing him for the second leg. They were really chirpy, saying we had no-one to score, but then I stepped up!”
Wilfried Zaha was supporting the biggest grassroots football tournament in the country – the PlayStation Schools’ Cup. Since its launch, over 200,000 players have been involved. Visit www.playstationschoolscup.com