Wilfried Zaha has credited Crystal Palace with restoring his confidence and admits not playing regularly for Manchester United affected him.
Zaha made just four appearances in his 18 months at United, with just two of them coming in the league under David Moyes last season.
After arriving from Crystal Palace in time for the start of Moyes’ time at the club, he was a regular in pre-season and played in the Community Shield and it appeared he would be a regular in the squad.
But the emergence of Adnan Januzaj hampered Zaha’s chances and he was loaned to Cardiff but re-joining Palace permanently in January.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup fixtures, Zaha said he had no doubts returning to Selhurst Park was the right decision.
“If you’re not playing, it’s just, ‘what am I doing?’ Not playing at all hit my confidence but now I am playing again,” Zaha said.
“There were other clubs interested but in my mind I wanted to come back to Palace. It is somewhere I like and it’s definitely the club I want to be at.
“I am back home. Everything is local to me, my family my friends. I just play football and go home with a smile on my face.”
Coach Keith Millen spoke about Pardew’s positive attitude on Friday, saying his ‘confidence and enthusiasm has given the players belief and Zaha credits the manager with helping him back to form.
He added: “He is just trying to get my confidence back up really and he told me to concentrate a bit more during games,” he said. “During games I sometimes switch off or whatever – he has told me to work hard on my concentration and have a bit more belief in my game.”
Zaha has been in good form for Palace this season and his talent has given supporters reason to question why he wasn’t utilised more at Old Trafford.
The club made a large loss on the player but the majority will be pleased to see a young English talent re-building his career before it’s too late.