Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has poured cold water on the constant speculation that England U21 winger Wilfried Zaha, Sir Alex Ferguson’s final signing, does have a future at the Old Trafford club. There has been many reports linking the player with a move away from the club this summer, and other reports suggesting that his attitude is out-of-order. Mark Ogden of the Telegraph seems to suggest that senior figures question the 21-year-olds attitude and performances, which clearly shows that something is a miss somewhere. Van Gaal, reported in the Telegraph as saying:
“I have a lot of strikers and I have already said we have no balance in there. Maybe the next time I can use Zaha, but he is working good and doing all that I demand.”
The managers comments seem to suggest that the winger will get his chance on tour, but at the moment he is the only player in the squad not to have made an appearance, so surely, that will come on Tuesday evening when United face Inter Milan, or the speculation will start to rear its ugly head once again. On Friday, James Ducker of the Times (subscription required) reported:
“At the start of pre-season back in Manchester, United’s players were told one Friday that they didn’t have to come in the next day if they didn’t want to. The underlying message was pretty clear, though – get yourself in if you expect to be treated seriously. The only player who didn’t show that Saturday? Zaha. Talent is one thing, attitude is another, and it seems the former Crystal Palace player still has a lot to learn on that front.”
By the comments from Ducker, who is a trusted journalist by many, it would seem that Zaha;s attitude is not quite right, compared to his team-mates. Last season I remember him playing for Warren Joyce’s’ U21 side against Stoke City. Joyce had to constantly scream instructions at the winger, which seemed to back up my thoughts on him at the time. The boy has the talent, but he seems to assume that because he plays for Manchester United, he should automatically be given the right to play in the first team. Whether that assumption is right, we are yet to see, but personally, it is the only thing stopping him from getting the chance right now, in my opinion anyway, which some may disagree with.
Zaha has seen Jesse Lingard, Reece James, Michael and Will Keane all make appearances on the pre-season tour so far. The last of an appearance for the winger will add to the speculation currently circling the Old Trafford club. Van Gaal has dismissed any concerns of the youngsters attitude, and rightly so as the club would not want their manager going public with such comments, it just would not look good on the club. The Dutch manager also made comments on the players fitness, claiming his levels are not different to any of his team-mates. Van Gaal said:
“There is no Manchester United player who is fit. The boys who trained before the World Cup players started on July 7, maybe they are more fit, but they are not match fit.
“The World Cup players have only had four days training, so you cannot say they are fit.”
I think Van Gaal will try and get the best out of Zaha and will eventually give him a chance during the pre-season tour, which still has two matches remaining. I am sure the manager is working closely with Zaha and the rest of the players currently on tour, something that should improve the players fitness and Zaha’s attitude, if it is something that confers the manager behind closed doors. I sure this summer transfer window will answer questions raised about the player, but there is the fact that he could also be loaned out to another club, which could also suggest there are problems that need to be sorted with the player. I would like to see Zaha get over the issues currently suggested as he has the talent to succeed, but there is definitely something stopping him reaching the heights that seems to have been much of a promise for him not all that long ago.