At just 20 years of age, he is one of the hottest properties in English football. Crazy ball-control skills, amazing agility, fierce dribbling skills are some of the adjectives which best define this youngster.
And he has lived up to every inch of hype that the media endowed upon him from his time at the Championship. He has also lived up to those expectations with scintillating performances during Manchester United’s pre-season tour, gradually justifying the price tag.
In this edition of the scout report we present to United’s new-boy: Wilfried Zaha.
Having secured the services of the winger in January, United have had the opportunity to put Zaha’s amazing talent to test in the pre-season tour to the Far East. And the results have been most extraordinary.
Zaha is an out-and-out winger but can adapt to a second striker position too. He might not have a stocky build but has the three key ingredients of a winger: strength, pace and balance embodied into his very core.
He caught Sir Alex Ferguson’s eye when he stared in Crystal’s Palace surprise victory over United in the 2011 League One quarterfinals and fearlessly drove at their defence time and again.
Detailed scout report:
|Name: Wilfried Zaha||Age: 20 Years||Primary Position: RW|
|Secondary Position: CAM/LW/STRIKER||Foot: Right||Country: England|
|Scout Report Based on:|
|Vs Singha All Stars XI||Vs AIK|
|Vs A-League All Stars||Vs Cerezo Osaka|
|Player Bio Information|
|Height: 1.80 M||Weight: 66 kg||Build: Lean and muscular|
|Past Clubs: Crystal Palace||Injuries: None|
|Additional Information:||2011-12 Football League’s Young Player of the Year|
|Strength: Good||Reaction: Good|
|Power: Excellent||Endurance: Can last 90 minutes.|
|Jumping: Needs Improvement||Body Movement: Excellent|
|Speed: Lightening fast||Work Rate: i) Attacking: Highii) Defensive: Low|
|First Touch: Needs Improvement||Heading: Needs Improvement|
|Weaker Foot: Good||Dribbling: Excellent|
|Long Passing: Excellent||Short Passing: Fair|
|Tackling: Good||Decision Making: Fair|
|Ball Control: Excellent||Possession: Calm|
|Attacking: Excellent and busy on the wings|
|Defending: Needs work falling back to defend|
|Corners and Crosses: Good and improving every outing.|
|Free Kicks (att & def): N/A|
|Courage: Good||Motivation: Good|
|Confidence: Very High||Concentration: Needs significant improvement|
|Communication: Good, Links up well with teammates.||Temperament: Attacking and low aggression|
Zaha’s confidence on the ball is exceptional and his lightning pace makes him impossible to close down. Even if someone closes him down he has tricks up his sleeve to fool him and get a pass down to his awaiting teammate.
He has indeed excelled in his talent of drawing a defender out to drift out into the space open. His teamwork his good too, as most of his present colleagues at United communicate well and he can get his one-twos and deft touches away without losing possession cheaply.
Zaha has exceptional positional awareness, something that is rare of players his age. As seen in most pre-season matches, it has been seen that he likes to drift infield to intercept opponent’s passes but at the same time he keeps himself in a position to dart back to the full-back making runs on the flanks.
However Zaha has still a great deal of work to do. He maybe the loved child of the media, but the hype does not make one miss out on some of his poor decision making. He often passes to an unaware teammate rather than the one creating space around him. His crosses from the flank are also not tailor made for strikers to devour.
When closed down by multiple opponents gets frustrated and loses the ball rather cheaply. All one needs is to congest his free space to bother him and teammates often have to help him out in such situations.
He also has to get more clinical in front of goal and improve his finishing, besides working hard on his woeful aerial ability.
Based on his performances Zaha has been rated as below:
Shooting: 8/10 (Can take a shot at goal from nearly anywhere with both feet)
Passing/Crossing: 7/10 (Can make telling passes but needs to work on his crosses) | Tackling: 7/10 (Lunges in cleanly besides possessing ability to trick players to snatch the ball, needs improvement though)
Pace: 9/10 (Agile and extremely difficult to mark, has got that sudden burst to pace to beat defenders too) | Consistency: 9/10 (Zaha is improving exponentially with every performance)
Zaha would have been better off had he gone to another Premier League club to get more playing time or perhaps opted to return to Selhurst Park on loan to get acquainted to the rigours of the top division.
However, Zaha does have all the essentials to succeed at Old Trafford. Apart from late goals, United are characterised by their line of flying wingers from George Best, Andrei Kanchelskis, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham to Cristiano Ronaldo. Only time will tell if he can be the next in line for fabled number 7 jersey.