McCarthy tells Zaha to stay put

McCarthy tells Zaha to stay put

Published Jan. 12, 2012 7:16 a.m. ET

The Selhurst Park academy system has produced a steady stream of promising youngsters over recent years, with the club reaping the rewards of the emphasis they place on the production of home-grown talent.

Among those currently causing a stir is Zaha, with the 19-year-old said to be attracting interest from Liverpool, Newcastle, Queens Park Rangers, Fulham and Tottenham.

He did pen a new five-and-a-half-year contract in December, but that has done little to curb the speculation regarding his future.

McCarthy hopes Zaha will continue to brush off the rumours, with it his opinion that the winger's development would be better served at Palace - with former Eagles star Bostock struggling to make the grade at Spurs after completing a high-profile switch at a young age.


"Every week you come and see the improvement in these kids, and it comes from upstairs," McCarthy said.

"They are being managed the right way and it would be criminal for these lads to move on too early in their careers.

"They have the right man in charge now (Dougie Freedman) that won't hold them on too long.

"If he feels like they need to move on then he will do it, but he won't let them leave too early either as he has seen it with the likes of John Bostock and so forth."

However, McCarthy has done little to play down Zaha's qualities, the 28-year-old adding: "He can go as far as he wants in the game, Wilfried. He is a special talent.

"He is probably the most naturally gifted individual I have ever come across in my career, and I have seen a lot."

Zaha has every incentive to stay at Palace, with a 1-0 victory over Cardiff in the first leg of their Carling Cup semi-final edging the Eagles one step closer to Wembley.

"He signed a new contract which shows his commitment to the club," McCarthy said. "I'm sure he wants to be involved in the second leg and in this fantastic journey we're on.

"I think he can see we are improving as a team and growing as a club as well, and I'm sure anybody in their right mind would want to be a part of that."