When a player of immense promise appears on Arsene Wenger’s radar, Arsenal’s manager sends chief scout Steve Rowley to watch them in an away game.
Report by DailyMail
It is a secret code at Arsenal, despatching his trusted talent-spotter to see if their target fancies it on a freezing cold day at a place like Leicester’s King Power Stadium.
Arsenal are a little bit late to the party when it comes to Wilfried Zaha, only putting their marker down in the last few weeks with their constant presence at Crystal Palace matches. They have arrived at just the right time.
Zaha is electrifying, the most talented and gifted player that Palace supporters have ever seen.
Tough on Vince Hilaire.
Tougher on Ian Wright.
True all the same.
He has mesmerising qualities, skills reminiscent of Ronaldinho when he began playing for Gremio 14 years ago.
Zaha is capable of anything, twisting and turning his way past opposition defences with his exceptional ability on the ball.
He has everything: pace, strength, ability and power, all the attributes required of a modern day footballer. For 70 minutes, until Leicester began a late rally, Zaha was unplayable.
Rowley, who was in the stands, left impressed.
Three weeks ago, Zaha went away with the England Under-21 team for their fiery play-off matches against Serbia in the Euro 2013 qualifiers.
The working environment raised his game, under pressure to perform in training alongside players who are regular starters in the Barclays Premier League.
At that level, the players are that much sharper and Zaha responded by smoothing over some of the rough edges to his game.
He improved alongside Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson and Danny Rose, accepting the challenge of international competition.
It enhanced his game, returning to the Palace team for their Championship game against Millwall with an improvement in decision-making on the ball and superior game-intelligence.
Converting his ability to the Premier League is the next phase of his development, a target for a player regarded by all 24 Championship managers as the best in the division.
Six years ago, Theo Walcott wasn’t even the best player in the Southampton team, but Arsenal signed a player based on future potential.