Football - Pulis hails Zaha talent

Wilfried Zaha can add Tony Pulis to his growing list of admirers after Crystal Palace's goalless draw with Stoke in the FA Cup.

PA Sport
Football - Pulis hails Zaha talent
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Tony Pulis hailed Wilfried Zaha, left, as 'a top, top player'

Eagles winger Zaha is the most sought-after player in the npower Championship this January, with the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal vying for his signature.

And the 20-year-old illustrated why with another all-action performance in the third-round tie against the Potters.

A late challenge from Ryan Shotton - missed by referee Neil Swarbrick - brought a premature end to Zaha's afternoon, but Stoke boss Pulis had already seen enough.

"He looks a terrific player," said Pulis. "He's got great feet and his balance, like all great players, is wonderful. He can go either side and he shifts people without even touching the ball. He's a top, top player."

While Zaha lasted 55 minutes at Selhurst Park, a player seemingly at the opposite end of his career had already left the action.

Michael Owen had been substituted two minutes before, having struggled to make an impact on his first start in 14 months. The 33-year-old striker reprised his old England partnership with Peter Crouch, but the once dynamic duo barely had a sniff of goal.

"We were always going to give Michael until just after half-time and then bring him off," added Pulis. "He needs more games, and you could see that. But we are really pleased he got through it without any problems."

Owen's 53-minute run-out matched precisely how long he had managed on the pitch in four previous substitute outings since joining Stoke in September. Reports emanating from Australia on Saturday claimed representatives of the former Liverpool, Manchester United and Real Madrid frontman were in talks over a potential move to Perth Glory.

But Pulis said: "We've not heard anything about that. I think Michael's happy where he is. He's a great kid."

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