Zaha has ‘a Neymar kind of ability’, says former team-mate

Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha has “a Neymar kind of ability”, according to his former team-mate Yannick Bolasie.

Zaha and Bolasie formed a formidable attacking partnership at the club, their skilful dribbling providing headaches for opposition defenders.

Zaha has frequently been linked with a move away from Palace, with Unai Emery recently claiming he wanted to sign him for Arsenal instead of Nicolas Pepe, and Bolasie believes he has the ability to play at the top level.

“I think I would have taught him some things, to be honest, some little things he would have taken from my book,” Bolasie told Palace’s official website.

“When I said Wilf has a Neymar kind of ability, people were like: ‘Nah, nah, nah,’ but then they started looking and saying: ‘Actually, he does.’

“Every season for me, he’s come out and proved he’s got better. Just in different types of ways. He’s setting up teammates, setting up people to score, he’s releasing passes quicker than I’ve seen him release passes before.

“I’m seeing an improvement in his whole game, he’s not just this dribbler that everyone thinks he is; he can see a pass and a through ball.”

Bolasie left Palace for Everton in 2016 and is now on loan at Sporting Lisbon, after temporary spells with Aston Villa and Anderlecht. However Bolasie says he and Zaha remain very close.

“Since then [meeting], we’ve had a close bond,” he said. “I know his brothers. From then, it’s just been a family thing: they check in on me sometimes, I check in on them and for me to see where he’s at today is what I expected. It is what I expected, but then for things to actually take place, that’s a different type of feeling.

“I’m very happy for him and what he’s doing and when I watch Palace and see him play and I feel: ‘Hmm, you could have done this there,’ I do tell him. Because I do feel like I’ve got that relationship with him.

“Not to try and coach him but to tell him: ‘Maybe you could have let that shot go a little bit earlier, you didn’t need to do that.’ Or whatever. I do feel like I’ve got that relationship with him and I can tell him that kind of thing.

“It was great playing with Wilf and also credit to Palace for bringing him through and having the confidence in him after that move to bring him back home and you can see what he’s doing now – it’s unbelievable stuff.”


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