Wilfried Zaha: Julian Speroni has been a mentor to me


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Wilfried Zaha has paid tribute to veteran Crystal Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni who is set to leave Selhurst Park this summer when his contract expires.

The 39-year-old Argentinian shot-stopper made his Eagles debut when Zaha was just 13 but the winger says they have built up a strong relationship.

Ivory Coast international Zaha, who is being linked with a move away from Roy Hodgson’s side this summer, said: “Before I was even in the first team he was unbelievable and then managing to meet him you see how much of a gentleman and a nice guy he is.

I’m happy to have been at Palace at the same time as he is. “He’s been a mentor for me. Obviously, we play in different positions but whatever I was going through he would be someone I could speak to about anything.”

Speroni moved to Palace from Dundee in the summer of 2004 and has featured in 371 league games for the club, with his latest coming in the 4-3 defeat at Liverpool in January.

His only other first-team appearance this term came in the FA Cup fourth-round victory over Tottenham. Speroni was named Palace’s player of the season on four occasions and has kept 112 clean sheets during his time at Selhurst Park.

Palace can be backed at 1.91 to beat Bournemouth on Sunday in the final Premier League match of the campaign while a victory for the 13th-placed Cherries at Selhurst Park is available at 3.80. Earlier in the season Eddie Howe’s side beat Palace 2-1 at the Vitality Stadium.

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