Wilfried Zaha hits back at critics after diving claims

Wilfried Zaha hits back at 'diving' critics
© Offside
Wilfried Zaha insists that he never intentionally goes to ground under contact from opponents, having been regularly accused of diving during his time at Crystal Palace.

Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha has insisted that those who accuse him of diving are simply jumping on the bandwagon.

The Ivory Coast international has been at the centre of a number of diving controversies during his time in the Premier League, including late on against Manchester City on New Year's Eve.

Zaha received plenty of abuse on social media following that latest high-profile incident, when tumbling under minimal contact from Raheem Sterling in the goalless draw, but the 25-year-old is adamant that he never intentionally goes to ground.

"The whole penalty thing... it used to get me really annoyed but everyone just jumps on the bandwagon," he is quoted as saying by The Guardian.

"I don't really buy into it but I read stuff on Twitter and think half of you lot don't even watch me play but you come online saying: 'He's a diver.' If you watch me play you'll see how often I get kicked. I don't go off the pitch and cut myself to act like I've been kicked.

"The funniest thing is I'd love to actually show someone. If I let you sprint and I just literally touch the back of your ankle, see how far you go sliding down the pitch.

"At the pace I'm running, trying to get the ball, the slightest touch could trip me over. You don't have to literally push me over. That's what people don't understand. But unless you're able to run that fast, you'll never understand."

Zaha has won eight penalties for Palace over the past three seasons, and his last of three bookings for simulation came on Boxing Day in 2016.

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Christian Benteke in action for Crystal Palace on February 4, 2018
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