Wilfried Zaha described his time at Manchester United as ‘hell’ and slammed the club for failing to offer him adequate support as a young player.
The Ivorian forward arrived at United from Crystal Palace for a reported £10-million in June 2013 but played just 28 minutes of Premier League football for the Red Devils before being temporarily sent to Cardiff City.
Zaha returned to Selhurst Park on loan in August 2014 and made a permanent switch to the Eagles in February 2015, bringing end to his association with a club he says never gave him a chance.
‘Obviously, getting to United isn’t easy, so not being given a chance is hard to take,’ the winger told The Sun.
‘I went through so much with United, with England. There were rumours that the reason I wasn’t playing for United was because I slept with David Moyes’ daughter, and no one attempted to clear that up.
‘So I was fighting my demons by myself, these rumours that I knew weren’t true.’
Zaha faced the daunting prospect of attempting to break into a United team that featured Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, Robin van Persie and Nani, and he described feeling isolated from the squad due to the living arrangements the club made for him.
He continued: ‘I was dealing with this at 19 – living in Manchester by myself, nowhere near anyone else, because the club had a hold over where I lived.
‘They hadn’t given me a car, like every other player. Nothing. I’m living in this hell by myself, away from my family, and I thought, ‘If this doesn’t make me stronger, what will?’
‘When I was at United I had money, but I was still so down and depressed. People think your life’s different because you’ve got money, you’ve got fame, so they don’t treat you the same.
‘I don’t regret anything because it made me stronger. I feel as though I can deal with anything now.’
Zaha’s return to Palace has been successful and he is in a rich vein of form, having scored three goals in four Premier League games this season.
His redemption at club level has come with international recognition after he opted to represent Ivory Coast over England.
‘The Ivory Coast had been begging for ages,’ said Zaha, who switched to playing for the country of his birth after making two friendly appearances for the Three Lions.
‘The country and the fans love me already, and I haven’t even done anything.
‘I may not get the red carpet, it may not have the same Nike deals as when you play for England, but I’m going to be playing, I’m going to be loved, and that’s all I want. Nothing else.’
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