Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha has finally opened up regarding his torrid stint at Manchester United, ahead of their clash against the Red Devils on Saturday (31 October). The striker played a total of 28 minutes of Premier League football under David Moyes during the 2013/14 campaign after Sir Alex Ferguson beat competition from rival Premier League clubs to sign him from the Eagles in 2013.
The England international began his career with promise after being utilised in all of United's pre-season games, and then started the Red Devils' Community Shield game against Wigan. However, that was to be his last senior appearance in the league until a substitute appearance in December against Newcastle United.
Zaha has revealed that Moyes gave him no reason for dropping him from the squad, and believes this was the reason for rumours regarding an alleged affair with the United manager's daughter emerging. The player is glad to have cleared the air regarding the malicious claims, but admitted that he was depressed at times due to his dire situation at the club and in the public eye.
"As soon as Moyes came he just said I wasn't ready for the Premier League. He didn't say why. I didn't really understand it. I felt I wasn't given a chance really," Zaha said, as quoted by the Mirror.
"I played in all the pre-season games and then in the Wigan game I never played my best. I played for England and then zero games. Then the rumours started basically because he just stopped playing me with no actual reason that I knew."
"It was either: I slept with David Moyes' daughter or I have got a bad attitude. Those are the two rumours that stuck with me until I left Man United. I have had no say since then."
"I never even met her (Moyes' daughter). But as soon as anybody sees me now, people think: Wilfried Zaha, bad attitude. I just don't understand why. I went through that every single day."
"Getting constant tweets, people outside making jokes. I just had to take that on knowing that I wasn't going to play for United either. I lived up there by myself as well so there was not really anybody to speak to," the Englishman explained.
"Yes at times I was depressed. I felt a lot of things. When I don't play well nobody needs to say anything to me. I beat myself up. It stresses me out if I mess it up," he added.
The 22-year-old, who was first sent out on loan to Cardiff City and then to Crystal Palace, moved back to his former club on a permanent basis in February. Zaha, meanwhile, believes that he would have had more success if Ferguson was still the manager, as he was still not a finished product, and had much to learn.
The Palace attacker, however, does not put the blame squarely on Moyes, and believes that his experiences at Old Trafford have made him mentally stronger to deal with tough situations.
"Going to Man United you're expected to be the final product. That's what it felt like. Maybe it would've been different with Ferguson, but I was still learning - I'd just come from the Championship," Zaha said.
"There was a lot of pressure on Moyes - he needed to deliver. He couldn't take a risk. I'm not putting the blame entirely on him, I'm sure he had stuff on his mind as well."