Zaha follows in the footsteps of a host of youngsters Sir Alex Ferguson spotted as star potential either via his youth system or the Old Trafford cheque book.
"Wilfried has great potential. What I have seen of him I like the look of," McIlroy told the Manchester Evening News.
"I am sure he will be proud of that 'last Fergie fledgling ' tag as I was in my day. He has the tools to do it justice. It wasn't a great Under-21 Championship in Israel with England for him but the failure of the side wasn't his fault.
"I wouldn't look too much into his form for the Under-21s. Once he gets to Old Trafford he'll be okay."