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Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha proud of personal academy: For the kids

Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha is proud of his relationship with Eagles fans.

The Wilfried Zaha Academy in Purley “gives kids something to strive for," in Zaha's words.

Speaking to On The Judy podcast, he explained more about his motivation for co-founding the academy: “The reason I started it is it gives the kids something to strive for. You go to the academy and hopefully as the academy grows we can give them an opportunity to flourish and be a feeder for these [professional] clubs so they can hopefully have a career of their own.

“I didn't see those things as attainable when I was younger. I'm blessed to be able to have my own academy and if I can give back and have children enjoying it, why not do it?"

It's this approach Zaha seeks to show off-pitch. On the pitch it's tougher: there are matches to win.

“Me being moany and whatever, that's me on the pitch, that's me being passionate and wanting to win. If I come across as a bad person, so be it. But I know deep down I'm not a bad person. If you know me off the pitch, if you know what I stand for and how I am you'd understand my whole [reason] why I do these things.

“You'd speak to me and understand why and know where I've come from… it's not just an overnight thing. I let people think what they want to think when they see highlights for five minutes on Match of the Day."

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Paul Vegas

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