By Sion Cleaver
Crystal Palace talisman Wilfried Zaha has admitted he wants to establish himself as a Premier League footballer by making a move to the top flight in the January transfer window.
The 20-year-old England international has attracted interest from a number of leading clubs, including Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, and has revealed if a Premier League club made an offer for him in the transfer window, then he would make the move.
“I want to establish myself in the Premier League and in international football,” he told the Mail on Sunday.
“I’m not a teenager any more, I’ve played more than 100 first-team games and this year is crucial to develop my football career.
“I’ve played a lot in the Championship so having that new challenge in the Premier League, where everyone wants to be, would be great.
“To be honest, if I had the chance in January and Palace agreed, it’s something I’d want to go for,” he added, revealing that his involvement with top-flight players while on England duty has stimulated his ambition.
“The little bits we did in training with England were more intense than I’d been used to,” he said.
“Playing with Premier League players tested me, it was a great challenge but I felt comfortable in that company. Steven Gerrard’s shooting made the biggest impression on me. I don’t know how he got that amount of sheer power, it was impressive!”
He also talked about his relationship with Liverpool youngster Raheem Sterling, with whom he has become close friends.
“I have a good relationship with Raheem,” he said. “He’s 18 and I can joke around with him. We have that understanding.
“There was an article where people thought I was comparing myself to Ronaldo and Messi. He was bantering with me about it, saying, ‘‘You think you are better than those guys!’ We laughed about it, because he just knew that wasn’t my personality at all really.”
Zaha, who was born in the Ivory Coast, has made 119 first team appearances and scored 15 goals for Crystal Palace since signing for the south London outfit in 2010.