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Holloway praises Zaha for "roasting" Boro
IF Wilfried Zaha doesn't succeed at Manchester United following last month's £15m move to Manchester United, Crystal Palace boss Ian Holloway has tipped the winger to carve out a career in the kitchen.
“He's the best chef I've ever seen,” said Holloway in the wake of his side's comprehensive 4-1 success over Middlesbrough. “He roasted their two full-backs. I bet they will be glad to get home.”
With Stuart Parnaby and Andy Halliday feeling the heat, Zaha was integral to Palace's biggest win since the turn of the year, and if the Eagles are to win promotion to the Premier League this season, you suspect the 20-year-old will have a lot to do with it.
Glenn Murray might boast 26 Championship goals, but Zaha has been involved in a large percentage of them, and it is the Ivory Coast-born winger who opposition defences are right to fear.
Loaned back to Selhurst Park following his January switch to Old Trafford, the England under-21 international has pledged to help his first club win promotion before leaving for good. On the evidence of his latest bewitching display against Boro, you wouldn't back against it.
England boss Roy Hodgson will certainly have been impressed as he watched from the Selhurst Park stands, and there is a strong chance of Zaha being included in the senior squad that will face San Marino and Montenegro in pivotal World Cup qualifiers next month.
In Theo Walcott, Aaron Lennon, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Ashley Young, England boast a number of players capable of playing in a wide attacking position. As Parnaby in particular will attest though, it is arguable whether any boast the pace and dribbling prowess of Zaha.
“I told Wilf that he (Hodgson) was here at half-time,” said Holloway. “What a stroke of genius that was! That's the best Wilf has played for me.”
After a difficult start to 2013, Palace are looking like strong promotion contenders once again, although Holloway admits he was far from content with his side's first-half display against Boro.
“I thought we were laborious,” he said. “I told them at half-time they were boring me. We scored a good early goal but we didn't do things quickly enough.
“I was disappointed with the first half and the fact we allowed them to score to get back into it at 3-1. I've seen enough recently to know strange things can happen.
“But Kevin (Phillips) comes on and we win 4-1. We upped the tempo in the second half and showed we were a stronger team. We have to keep it going for the next 14 games. We've got to aim for the stars.”
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