Manchester United winger Wilfried Zaha seeks to use Under-21s game to remind loan arrangers of his potential

Fulham and Newcastle are among those to be linked

As Sir Alex Ferguson’s last signing, Wilfried Zaha, must have thought his career was only heading in one direction after leaving Crystal Palace.

Yet this evening Zaha could pull on an England shirt for the ninth time since he joined Manchester United in January for £15m, despite having yet to appear for a single minute in the Premier League.

Zaha was immediately loaned back to Palace and inspired them to play-off victory at Wembley in May. However, besides his appearance at the same venue in the Community Shield for his new club and the Capital One Cup tie against Norwich earlier this month, the winger has struggled to make an impression on new United manager David Moyes and is now expected to be loaned out in January.

Newcastle, Everton and Fulham are understood to be among a long list of Premier League clubs who have already registered their interest in taking a player who, by contrast, has played in four of the five European Championship qualifiers for Gareth Southgate’s Under-21s this season.

Tonight’s meeting with San Marino in Shrewsbury comes after a week when a video of Zaha out celebrating his 21st birthday in a Croydon nightclub hours before United’s Premier League victory over Arsenal at Old Trafford emerged online, with pictures of him smoking a “shisha stick” at a house party also proving popular on social networks.

A source close to the player has told The Independent that Zaha remains focused on winning a regular starting place in the United team, although they acknowledged it has been a difficult transition for him, given Ferguson’s surprise departure from Old Trafford at the end of last season.

The emergence of 18-year-old Adnan Januzaj as a rival for a starting spot has also not helped Zaha’s chances and Moyes is thought to favour a loan spell at another Premier League club in order to avoid what the source described as “having too much time on his hands”. That is unlikely to be bottom side Palace – who are still to name their new manager after reports yesterday that Dynamo Moscow manager Dan Petrescu has turned them down – as United would prefer him to prove himself at a side who are not involved in a relegation battle.

Zaha has so far made two appearances for England’s senior sides in friendlies against Sweden and Scotland but has been consigned to the Under-21s since then. He is technically still eligible to play for Ivory Coast in next year’s World Cup, having been born there, although he has previously turned them down.

After Thursday’s 3-0 win over Finland, Southgate is expected to bring in some new faces for what should be a straightforward task against San Marino. The exciting front four partnership developing between Zaha, Ravel Morrison, Raheem Sterling and Saido Berahino will definitely be put on ice owing to Berahino’s suspension, with Patrick  Bamford – the striker on loan with MK Dons from Chelsea – in contention to start, having been called up by Southgate  as cover.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Two christmas trees ,Moonbeam (2L), Moonchester (2R) and Santa Claus outside the Etihad Stadium
footballAll the action from today's games
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas