Osian Roberts: Wilfried Zaha can help Crystal Palace take it to the next level


Osian Roberts praised the demanding nature of Crystal Palace striker Wilfried Zaha and supported him to help the club take it to the next level.

The Ivorian international will return from suspension for the New Year’s clash with West Ham after being sent off in the 3-0 defeat at Tottenham last weekend.

It will be Zaha’s last domestic game before he flies to Cameroon for the Africa Cup of Nations, which begins on January 9.

Since the winger graduated from the Eagles academy over a decade ago, he has been regularly criticized externally for his attitude and body language perceived as poor on the pitch, where he can occasionally. time to be seen gesticulating with his own teammates.

However, current boss Patrick Vieira has often praised Zaha’s “winning mentality” and his assistant echoed those sentiments on Friday.

“I can only continue from personal experience over the past few months and I think Wilfried is a top professional who hunger for success,” said Roberts, replacing the Palace manager who isolated him.

“He wants to be successful as an individual and be successful in a team environment. To do this you have to push yourself, you have to push your teammates and always demand.

“Patrick always tells our group of players that you have to demand more of each other and Wilfried is one of the first to do so.

“If we want to raise the bar and go further, which players are ambitious to do, then players like Wilfried are really important in this process.

“He is not the one who will accept mediocrity, he will expect excellence every day in training and in every game.

“He has a major role to play and it’s important players like Wilfried who have that experience and that ability, pass their experience on and help take this group of players to the next level.”

New Year’s opponents West Ham have undergone the transformation Palace are eager to follow from a mid-table club to a team competing in Europe, albeit with a significant investment.

While Roberts did not wish to be drawn to any parallels between the parties, he was more than happy to talk about the managerial exploits of Hammers boss David Moyes, who rebuilt his reputation at the London Stadium after tough times with Manchester United and Sunderland.

The Eagles assistant said: “Every club is very different and I’m sure it will have a lot of differences, but I’m a huge David Moyes fan.

“I used to go to Bellefield and watch Everton first team training when he was manager and Alan Irvine was assistant. They would allow me to go see practice many years ago, so I’ve been a big fan of David for a long time.

“I’m so glad everyone realizes now that he’s a top, top manager.

“Maybe some opinions changed for a short while after you left Everton, but you don’t become a bad manager overnight. The experience he has acquired and the way he plays his teams deserve the greatest respect.

Palace is awaiting the results of routine PCR tests carried out on Friday which could allow boss Vieira to return to the sideline after a Covid-19 fight.


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