George Burley: I've worked with Wilfried Zaha and Gareth Bale – they are cut from the same cloth

Manager who gave youngster his first start at Palace predicts he will go on to make name in the Premier League like Spurs star

You could see straight away that Wilfried Zaha had exceptional talent. When I took over at Crystal Palace in June 2010, they were still in administration with a very small squad and I needed young players to train with the first team. The academy coaches spoke highly of Wilfried so he joined in.

I liked the boy. He was quite a shy lad, but he was very comfortable on the ball and had the ability to take the ball to players and beat them.

You could see he was a natural. He was brought up playing football in the street and in the park. He was sharp and quick. He wasn't big – he was very wiry – but he had the ability to ride tackles, which is an attribute that not that many players have.

Our first game of the season was at home to Leicester and on his first senior start he scored and we won 3-2. I think he played every game when I was at Palace and I had no doubt he was going to be a top-class player.

I was fortunate enough to work with Tom Huddlestone at Derby County and with Gareth Bale at Southampton and, for me, the key to developing young talented players like that is to keep them playing regularly.

At Southampton, Gareth had two years playing non-stop in the first team when I was there and Wilfried has been the same at Palace.

The Championship's a great league for developing top young players in that way. Then, when they've got that bit of confidence to play against anybody, they can go into the top league and push on. Wilfried has been going along the right track.

I think Roy Hodgson has brought him into the England squad for experience: to see him first-hand, to watch him in training, to see what his mentality is like, dealing with top-class, experienced players.

It's a good idea to get Wilfried used to it all. He's maybe not ready to be pushed into the England team too early. Maybe he will play against Sweden; maybe not. The key for him is how he handles the whole experience of being with the England squad and how he kicks on.

I'm sure Hodgson will be keeping an eye on him to see how he pushes on. He's a great lad and a great talent but he's still got a lot to learn.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?