Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish challenges critics to prove Wilfried Zaha is a diver

Standard sport
Challenge: Wilfried Zaha: REUTERS

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish has leapt to the defence of star man Wilfried Zaha, and insisted that nobody could find a clip of him diving.

Zaha has repeatedly come under criticism from some pundits and rival fans for going down too easily, and was booked for simulation against Watford towards the end of last season.

After a string of controversial penalty box incidents, the Ivorian believes that his unfair reputation is now endangering his own safety, complaining last week that opposition players would have to break his leg before referees show a red card.

However, Parish insists that he has never seen the 25-year-old dive.

“He’s an incredibly honest player, he wears his heart on his sleeve,” Parish said on BBC Radio 5Live.

"I’ve never seen him dive, nobody can ever show me a clip where he dives.

“People say ‘Oh he goes over too easily’, I’ve never seen that either. I think if you compare situations in the penalty box of Wilfried’s, with other players, pundits will often say ‘he felt contact so he’s within his rights to go down’. It’s very, very rare that I see anything even close to that with Wilfried.

“It takes proper contact to knock him over, and then often he doesn’t get the decision.

“There is a narrative around him, I think it’s put forward by other teams, other fans, because they want to try to nullify him.”