Derby County out to halt 'unplayable' Eagles star Wilfried Zaha
DERBY County will look to tame one of the brightest young talents outside of the Premier League tomorrow.
The Rams travel to Selhurst Park to face Championship leaders Crystal Palace and their man of the moment, Wilfried Zaha.
Palace's pacy 20-year-old wide player won his first senior cap for England on Wednesday when he came off the bench in the defeat by Sweden.
His form has played a big part in Palace's unbeaten run of 13 games and he was described as "unplayable at times" by Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson after the Eagles won at London Road last Saturday.
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"He is the best player in this league and he will go to the top," added Ferguson.
Premier League clubs are eyeing Zaha's progress and former Derby, Palace, Southampton and Scotland manager George Burley is not surprised.
Burley was in charge at Palace when Zaha was part of the club's Academy.
He compares Zaha to Gareth Bale and Tom Huddlestone, two other young talents he helped to develop.
"You could see straight away that Wilfried Zaha had exceptional talent," said Burley.
"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. You could see 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 is sharp and quick.
"I had no doubt he was going to be a top-class player."
Zaha did not start in any of the three matches between Palace and Derby last season.
Nigel Clough is aware of the threat the youngster poses, but the Rams manager is quick to point out that Palace have other good players.
"He (Zaha) is lighting up the Championship at the moment," said Clough.
"He is a major reason why Palace are where they are, top of the league, but not the only reason. His team-mates are doing a good job as well.
"I think Glenn Murray is a key player for them. His role up top allows Zaha and Yannick Bolasie to use their pace.
Murray has scored 13 goals this season and Zaha has four, but Derby travel in confident mood.
Defeat at Millwall last Saturday was only their second in nine games.
Clough said: "The game will be as hard as they come, but we have seen nothing to be frightened of so far in the Championship."