By 90Min
September 20, 2018

Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha has opened up on the treatment he received during his short stint at Manchester United, describing his time at Old Trafford as 'hell'.

The Ivory Coast international was Sir Alex Ferguson's last signing at United having arrived from Selhurst Park in a £10m deal back in 2013, at a time where he was one of the hottest young prospects in the game. 

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However, Zaha made just four appearances for the Red Devils, enduring a tough time as David Moyes struggled to aid his development following Ferguson's retirement. 

Speaking to Shortlist, the 25-year-old said: "Obviously, getting to United isn’t easy, so not being given a chance is hard to take.

"I don’t regret anything because it made me stronger. I feel as though I can deal with anything now. I went through so much with United."

Many were led to believe that the Crystal Palace academy graduate was being left out of the side after an incident with Moyes' daughter, although Zaha sought to quash these rumours. 

He continued: "There were rumours that the reason I wasn’t playing for United was because I slept with David Moyes’ daughter, and no one [at United] attempted to clear that up.

"So I was fighting my demons by myself, these rumours that I knew weren’t true. I was dealing with this at 19; living in Manchester by myself, nowhere near anyone else, because the club had a hold over where I lived.

A common and narrow minded criticism of footballers is that they are not allowed to feel down, given the huge wages they receive, but Zaha stressed that money never eased his pain. 

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Palace's number 11 added: "They hadn’t given me a car, like every other player [had]. Nothing. I’m living in this hell by myself, away from my family, and I thought, 'If this doesn’t make me stronger, what will?'

"When I was at United I had [money], but I was still so down and depressed. People think your life’s different because you’ve got money, you’ve got fame, so they don’t treat you the same."

Zaha rejoined his boyhood club in a £3.5m deal back in 2015, where he has since thrived at a club that believes in him and believes in nurturing his abilities. 

He is playing regularly for club and country, with the latter being his native Ivory Coast instead of England after years of being ignored by the Three Lions. 

On the decision to play for the country of his birth, Zaha said: "I may not get the red carpet, it may not have the same Nike deals as when you play for England, but I’m going to be playing. I’m going to be loved, and that’s all I want. Nothing else."

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