With club football still an entire week away, the only thing we have to satisfy our football fix comes in the shape of international fixtures. Last night, we were treated to an utterly sublime individual performance from Wilfried Zaha, as he and his teammates in the England U21s battered Romania for the entirety of their friendly encounter.
Having dazzled the crowd for 87 minutes, he was withdrawn to applause from all corners in what was arguably his best performance in front of the TV cameras during his fledgling international career. In an extremely one-sided game, it was Zaha who broke the deadlock in the 34th minute – receiving a ball into his feet before holding off challenges from two defenders, he made his way across the box and curled the ball into the far right hand side netting from all of 18 yards. The commentators were suitably impressed, and made a point of saying so at great length.
The second half brought more of the same with the game taking on the pattern of a training exercise. For long spells Zaha, Sterling, Shelvey and co. continued to bombard the visitors with attacks from all corners for which they were rewarded in the 61st minute when Jack Robinson ghosted in at the back post to volley the ball past a hopeless goalkeeper from close range. It was no less than the team deserved.
The final few minutes saw the ball find Zaha more and more frequently with Clive Allen even admitting he just wanted the players to “give the ball to Wilfried”. It was almost as if I was watching a one man showboating segment at times with stepovers, dummies and tricks in ample supply. Given the lack of quality in opposition, it was far from the sternest test he’s faced, and the lack of genuine defensive pressure seemed to spur him on to impress further as time wore on. He was unshackled from worries and enjoying himself, that much was clear to see.