Patrick Vieira believes Crystal Palace attacker Wilfried Zaha can still go to a “different level” despite turning 29 next week.
The Ivory Coast international scored his 50th Premier League goal for the club in Saturday’s fine 2-0 win at Manchester City to continue an encouraging start to the campaign.
Last season was Zaha’s best tally in terms of goals with 11 in the top flight but the academy graduate currently looks the happiest he has been at Selhurst Park and is flourishing under a new regime playing progressive football.
“I strongly believe that Wilfried can go to a different level,” Vieira insisted ahead of the visit of Wolves.
“I think he can score more goals, he can make more assists, he can be more decisive. He has the confidence of the football club, of myself and of my staff.
“We believe how good he can be for the football club, for himself to go to a different level. He can and I guarantee he can do it.”
Zaha, who has three goals to his name this season, made headlines this week when Ivory Coast boss Patrice Beaumelle told reporters on Thursday the winger “wants to reflect on the rest of his international career”.
Club manager Vieira rejected those claims and defended his player before he insisted during his own conversations with Palace’s number 11 it was made clear to him how much it meant to play for his country.
Asked if the incident could distract Zaha, the Eagles boss added: “No, not at all. I saw him this (Friday) morning, I saw him yesterday (Thursday) and he’s been really good.
“He’s been training really well and in his mind, he’s clear about wanting and still wanting to go to the internationals and to play for his country.
“No there is no trouble at all from my side. It’s just maybe a misunderstanding, I don’t know. But for me it’s been clear and seeing Wilfried in training it doesn’t have any effect on him.”
Vieira’s old Arsenal team-mate Sol Campbell is set to join the Palace squad at Copers Cope Road soon after it was revealed this week he had been invited to spend a couple of days at the club.
After receiving similar invitations during his time out of work and in the infancy of his managerial career, the former Nice boss was more than happy to help the ex-Southend head coach.
“I am really lucky during my coaching career so many managers opened their doors for me to spend a week at their football clubs,” Vieira explained.
“I am lucky to be in a really good club and if there are managers around that I can open the door and give them the support I had when I was doing my coaching badges, I will do it, especially when it is a good friend of mine.
“Yes I spoke to Sol and he will spend a couple of days with us and see how the football club operate.
“Of course, we talk about it (the lack of black managers). We spend a lot of time talking about it because it is something we find difficult to understand.
“We talk about experience, the love of the game, work ethic, game understanding and the passion we have for the game because it is no different from any other people.”
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