Date: 26th April 2013 at 3:49am
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The Palace man has a big part to play next season.

The Palace man has a big part to play next season.

Wilfried Zaha went head-to-head with Michael Keane as Crystal Palace and Leicester City drew 2-2 at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

The Foxes slipped out of the play-off places despite a decent performance and result as the push for a top-six spot looks like going down to the wire.

Centre-back Keane was quoted in the Leicester Mercury recently, speaking about his progress during his loan spell and the possibility of returning to the club next term.

“I would be up for coming back, definitely, especially if we get promoted,” he said. “We will have to see what happens but I have loved my time here.

“This has surpassed my expectations. I thought I would play a few games but didn’t expect to be playing every one. I have played every game and learned new things in every game as well.

“I have improved my physicality, and I am learning to use my strength more against strikers. In the air, as well, I think I have improved.”

Meanwhile, Wilfried Zaha admitted this week that he is an Arsenal supporter, but could not refuse the opportunity to join Manchester United next season when Sir Alex Ferguson approached him.
Zaha, 20, had been heavily linked with the Gunners in the months leading up to his decision to move to Old Trafford. However, the England international says he ultimately confirmed his future with his head, not his heart.

“It was always Arsenal, Arsenal, Arsenal, Arsenal in terms of where I could be going,”

Zaha, who was allowed to spend the rest of the season at Crystal Palace, told the Sun.

“I have always supported Arsenal. I did not expect United to come in but they did. Arsenal are a good team but United are one of the best in the world.”

Following a £15 million move to United announced in January, Zaha says he is struggling to hide his excitement as he prepares to meet his new team-mates.

“I am just anxious and excited. I cannot wait. It will be something different. When I walk into that dressing room at United, I do not know what I will feel. I will keep my head down as I am there to play football.

“But I have to admit I will be a bit starstruck. [Robin] Van Persie and [Ryan] Giggs will be in there – wow. [Wayne] Rooney will be in there – amazing. How can I not be looking forward to this?

“I have to be patient. I do not expect to walk in and play week-in week-out. Once I get the chance I will take it.
“Moving to Manchester will be something I have to get used as I have lived in the south of England since I was four. I will come down to see my family so I do not think my accent will change.

“At the moment, though, the priority is Crystal Palace. I can only assure everyone this is the case. I’ve had a little dip in my performance since I signed for United, I will not deny that. But I have to get back to what I do well.

“People are saying it is the speculation of going to United which saw me struggle. But Robin van Persie went 10 games without scoring but it was one of those things. He was still doing his best and playing a part. Equally, I am desperate to get Palace up [to the Premier League].”

Apart from Zaha and Keane, it has been a tough week for our loannees who haven’t got much action. Fabio did not feature in QPR’s 2-0 home defeat to Stoke City, which sends Harry Redknapp’s side another step closer to the Championship, while Angelo Henriquez did not get off the bench in Wigan Athletic’s 2-0 reverse at Upton Park that leaves the FA Cup finalists in the relegation zone.

Reece Brown was not involved in Ipswich Town’s 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship.

Sam Johnstone’s Walsall missed out on a play-off spot in League One following a 1-1 draw with relegated Bury. The Shakers scored late on through Efe Sodje but Swindon’s win had ensured Johnstone’s hopes of extending the season had already been extinguished. The Saddlers have one fixture of the season left.

Federico Macheda played the last nine minutes of Stuttgart’s 2-1 win against Freiburg and Bebe came off towards the end of Rio Ave’s 2-1 reverse to Pacos de Ferreira.

@saadnoor