Wilfried Zaha defends his playing style against diving claims

Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha has launched a staunch defence of his playing style, insisting he is not a diver.

The 25-year-old has seemingly gained a reputation for going to ground too easily while in possession during Palace’s relegation battle this season.

Zaha had calls for a penalty fall on deaf ears at Bournemouth last week when he was bundled over in the area from a challenge which he believes would have been a foul anywhere else on the pitch.

While Zaha can block out the criticism, he is mystified by the inconsistency in decisions that go against him.

“It doesn’t [frustrate] any more. I used to get annoyed or whatever,” Zaha told Palace’s official website.

“Obviously I have arguments with people on the pitch with all the emotions. I’ve done a one-two, I have gone to run, he has blocked me and I have fallen over.

“Realistically, you know you have blocked me and bundled me over. I haven’t called for a penalty but anywhere else on the pitch that is a foul, so why are you trying to pull me up and say ‘why are you diving?’, because you know anywhere else on the pitch it is a foul. That is what I don’t get.

Zaha provided a moment of inspiration against Bournemouth

“Some of these pens that are not given, anywhere else it is a foul. That is the only thing I don’t understand. Why is it a foul in the middle of the pitch but in the box it is not?

“That is the question I ask myself, but I don’t even get involved in that anymore. I just play. If you give me a pen, give me a pen. If you don’t play on.

“The whole penalty thing, I feel just everyone jumps on the bandwagon. I read stuff on Twitter, half of you lot don’t even watch me play, but you come online and say ‘he is a diver’. Actually watch me play and then you will see how often I get kicked.

“I don’t go off the pitch to cut myself just to act like I have been kicked.”