After he started Gareth Southgate’s first two games as England Under-21s manager, Wilfried Zaha had to settle for his spot as an unused substitute on the bench last night in England’s convincing 4-0 win over San Marino.
It would have left Zaha frustrated to have to watch on and not play football given how little he has played at Manchester United this season. He has only made one appearance for United’s reserves since his involvement in the Community Shield.
Southgate is very much getting used to his squad, just like Moyes was, and has a plethora of wingers all vying for two spots so Zaha’s exclusion was similar to his exodus from United’s team.
The England boss started Tom Ince and Raheem Sterling and gave opportunities to Jesse Lingard and Nathan Redmond from the bench instead of Zaha, either because it was against an easier opponent or that Southgate was trying his options out. It was likely the latter and had nothing to do with his ability.
Moyes explained that his decision not to use Zaha was due to the necessity to win Premier League games at the start of the season but after Adnan Januzaj swum emphatically after being thrown in the deep end against Sunderland, now is the time for Moyes to take that risk on Zaha.
Zaha’s exclusion was justified in expense of more experienced players with the tough start to the season but now that Moyes has given Januzaj a chance, not involving Zaha can’t be justified by that logic any more.
There have been widespread reports that Zaha will leave United on loan in January but that would be the wrong thing to do. Experience might be vital to Zaha but not as important as training all week with our first team and learning to be a United player.
He really needed to improve a lot of areas when he arrived – his left foot ability and shooting, for example – and Carrington was the best place for that.
Now that he has had a few months to settle, Zaha will be chomping at the bit to get his first competitive appearance for United and with a busy schedule coming up, Zaha should be given his chance to impress.