Zaha moved to United in 2013, but could make only two league appearances for the Red Devils before moving back to Palace permanently in 2015 following two loan spells with the Eagles and one with Cardiff City.
The 23-year-old will have a point to prove when the two clubs meet in the FA Cup final on Saturday and Puncheon is backing him to have an impact.
Puncheon said: "I don't think Wilf got a fair crack of the whip at United.
"I have noticed a big difference in him since the start of this season. His mentality, the way he approaches a game. There's not many games now where you will see Wilf not involved.
"Coming back has helped him settle and relax, being round his family.
"I will always try to help the young players. I am pretty good at understanding these kids because I have been down the same path.
"I could have gone the other way. But thankfully I put my mind to football. Some people have been very influential in my career - they helped me fix my mistakes. But my friends are still my friends. I won't turn my back on them."
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