Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha hits back against 'diver' reputation

The 25-year-old, whose game is based on pace and skill, has seemingly gained a reputation for going to ground too easily

Wilfried Zaha has launched a staunch defence of his play
Wilfried Zaha has launched a staunch defence of his play

Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha has launched a staunch defence of his playing style, insisting he is not a diver.

The 25-year-old, whose game is based on pace and skill, has seemingly gained a reputation for going to ground too easily while in possession during Palace's relegation battle this season.

Zaha had calls for a penalty fall on deaf ears at Bournemouth last week when he was bundled over in the area from a challenge which he believes would have been a foul anywhere else on the pitch.

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And while Zaha can block out the criticism, he is mystified by the inconsistency in decisions that go against him.

"It doesn't (frustrate) any more. I used to get annoyed or whatever," he told Palace's official website. "Obviously I have arguments with people on the pitch with all the emotions. I've done a one-two, I have gone to run, he has blocked me and I have fallen over.

"Realistically, you know you have blocked me and bundled me over. I haven't called for a penalty but anywhere else on the pitch that is a foul, so why are you trying to pull me up and say 'why are you diving?', because you know anywhere else on the pitch it is a foul. That is what I don't get.

"Some of these pens that are not given, anywhere else it is a foul. That is the only thing I don't understand. Why is it a foul in the middle of the pitch but in the box it is not? That is the question I ask myself, but I don't even get involved in that anymore. I just play. If you give me a pen, give me a pen. If you don't play on.

"The whole penalty thing, I feel just everyone jumps on the bandwagon. I read stuff on Twitter, half of you lot don't even watch me play, but you come online and say 'he is a diver'. Actually watch me play and then you will see how often I get kicked.

"I don't go off the pitch to cut myself just to act like I have been kicked."

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