The Ivory Coast international, often linked with a move away from the Eagles, hadn’t trained all week but ruled himself fit for the game
Roy Hodgson has said that Wifried Zaha only played against Norwich City on Wednesday because of his “big heart for the club.”
Despite not training all week, the Crystal Palace talisman played as his team secured a 1-1 draw with the Canaries on New Year’s Day.
The Eagles are in the midst of an injury crisis, worsened when Mamadou Sakho was forced off at half-time at Carrow Road.
Zaha provided the assist for Connor Wickham’s first Premier League goal since 2016 in the last five minutes to cancel out Todd Cantwell’s opener and guarantee Palace a share of the spoils.
Hodgson said he wasn’t sure if Zaha would be fit to play against the Canaries, but that the Ivorian pushed through to ensure he’d be ready to play.
“Wilf was another one today that until this morning we weren’t certain he’d be able to play – he hasn’t trained since the last game,” the former England manager told a press conference after the match.
“We were concerned he wouldn’t get on the field but because he’s got such a big heart for the club and such a love for football he declared himself fit, but that was a bit of a surprise to me that he declared himself fit.”
Zaha has been linked with a move away from Selhurst Park recently, even putting in a transfer request over the summer.
No deal could be done with his two main suitors, Arsenal and Everton, not coming close to Palace’s £80 million ($106m) valuation.
Zaha admitted that had hurt him, and affected his performances early in the season, but said he had since rededicated himself to his boyhood club.
The 27-year-old is already the subject of speculation this winter with Chelsea, fresh from having their transfer ban overturned, linked with him this time.
The former Derby County manager said he hadn’t “considered” a deal that would see out-of-favour striker Olivier Giroud head to Palace in part exchange for Zaha.
Palace end the festive period in ninth place in the table, just two points behind Tottenham in sixth, the final spot that guarantees European football for the following season.