Sat. Mar 6th, 2021

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Wilfried Zaha used to eat CROISSANTS for dinner after being ‘forgotten’ by Manchester United

3 min read

Wilfried Zaha claims he was ‘forgotten about’ at Manchester United as he explains how his ‘depressing’ spell under David Moyes was made worse by not playing. 

The winger – who moved to United in 2013 as a 20-year-old – struggled to settle into life away from home and admitted to watching TV by himself and eating croissants for dinner as he dwelled on negative thoughts.   

Zaha believes his lack of pitch time made matters ‘ten times worse’ as he claims he was not confident or experienced enough to knock on Moyes’ door to ask why he wasn’t playing.  

Wilfried Zaha says he was 'forgotten about' at Man United as he recalls his 'depressing' spell

Wilfried Zaha says he was ‘forgotten about’ at Man United as he recalls his ‘depressing’ spell

Zaha’s hardship on and off the pitch resulted in him feeling ‘alone’ and ‘shell shocked at his situation’. 

The 28-year-old is adamant that Moyes ‘was not keen’ on him, but insists he would ‘impose himself more at the club’ if he was to turn back time. 

Speaking at the Financial Times’ Business of Football summit, he said: ‘The only thing I would have done differently is impose myself more at the club, to my teammates, to everything. I’ve said before in interviews, I was just a shadow of myself because it was all new to me.

The winger (left)  joined David Moyes' (right) Manchester United side in 2013 as a 20-year-old

 The winger (left)  joined David Moyes’ (right) Manchester United side in 2013 as a 20-year-old 

Zaha made just four first-team appearances before being sent back to Crystal Palace on loan

Zaha made just four first-team appearances before being sent back to Crystal Palace on loan

‘Going there, and I’m thinking it’s all going to go well and then being hit with a manager that’s not keen on you and being away from home, I was a bit shell shocked, like what do I do now?

‘Even then, I didn’t go to the manager’s office and ask why I wasn’t playing, I didn’t have the confidence to do those things. It was just accepting and hoping he’d change his mind. Just hoping.

‘I don’t believe in just hoping, I feel like the work I put in brings the results. I’m so much more front foot now. The experience, I’m older now and I would have imposed myself on that team a lot more.’

Zaha left Selhurst Park at 20 years old to join Moyes at Old Trafford. However, the United manager handed him just four first-team appearances before sending him back to Palace on loan.  

Zaha says he was not confident enough to knock on Moyes' door to ask why he wasn't playing

Zaha says he was not confident enough to knock on Moyes’ door to ask why he wasn’t playing

The winger claims his lack of playing time at United made his situation 'ten times worse'

The winger claims his lack of playing time at United made his situation ‘ten times worse’ 

Zaha has admitted that the ‘pressure of playing for the title winners’ and moving ‘away from home’ was too much for him at the time. 

As a result, he believes clubs across the country should take some responsibility for looking after their young players. 

He said: ‘That’s one thing people don’t think about as much. Before that, I’d never moved away from South London at all, but then, all of a sudden, I had that pressure of playing for the title winners.

‘That pressure and moving away from home was just crazy. I just didn’t have the basics like how to cook. Coupled with things like that off the field, it made things more difficult.

Having joined Palace permanently again in 2015, he believes he wasn't ready for United

Having joined Palace permanently again in 2015, he believes he wasn’t ready for United

‘I did have family that came up but they went back to London sometimes. They were there with me but the times they went back would feel even worse because I was by myself and alone with thoughts.

‘I was in a whole different place and not playing football, either, so it made things more depressing by 10. My brother and his family were with me but they had their own life in London so I’d end up by myself watching TV.

‘I used to have croissants for dinner.’      

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