Wilfried Zaha enjoying ‘freedom’ of new forward role at Crystal Palace

Wilfried Zaha is eager to continue being efficient in front of goal and has enjoyed the freedom afforded to him in a new forward position at Crystal Palace this season.

Boss Roy Hodgson has used the Ivory Coast international higher up the pitch in the current campaign in a two-man attack alongside Jordan Ayew.

The results have been instant, with Zaha scoring in wins over Southampton and Manchester United to move within one goal of his final tally of four last term.

After being awarded Palace’s player of the month award for September, the 27-year-old reflected on his new role in the team.

“It gives me a lot of freedom to move around and I’m in and around the box more, so it gives me more of a scoring opportunity,” Zaha told the official club website.

“I’m just trying to be more efficient in certain areas. Obviously what really counts is what I do going forward, so that is the frame of mind I have got.

“Not try to do as much as I do outside the area. Once I get in and around there just to shoot.”

On top of playing as a striker, Zaha has also worn the armband in Palace’s last two fixtures against United and Everton, with captain Luka Milivojevic still building up his fitness following a disjointed pre-season campaign.

The Eagles academy graduate said: “That was an honour to be given that because it was very unexpected from the gaffer for that game (at Old Trafford).

“Obviously being here, a team that has near enough given me everything, being able to walk out and captain the side was an amazing feeling.”

Speculation over Zaha’s future continues but with the international transfer window due to shut at 11pm on Monday, it appears the one-time Manchester United winger will stay in SE25.

It also seems the case for team-mate Christian Benteke, who is eager to force his way back into Hodgson’s starting XI and not interested in a move abroad, the PA news agency understands.