Wilfried Zaha admits he was “down and depressed” during his nightmare Manchester United spell.
The Crystal Palace ace joined the Red Devils as a teenager after helping the Eagles to promotion to the Prem in 2013.
Amid the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson and the doomed arrival of David Moyes, Zaha reveals that the switch turned out to be his toughest period in football.
And the Ivory Coast international has even accused United of leaving him out to dry as rumours and allegations began to dominate his life on and off the pitch.
He said: “Obviously, getting to United isn’t easy, so not being given a chance is hard to take. I don’t regret anything because it made me stronger. I feel as though I can deal with anything now.
“I went through so much with United, with England. There were rumours that the reason I wasn’t playing for United was because I slept with David Moyes’s daughter, and no one attempted to clear that up.
“So I was fighting my demons by myself, these rumours that I knew weren’t true.
“I was dealing with this at 19 – living in Manchester by myself, nowhere near anyone else, because the club had a hold over where I lived. They hadn’t given me a car, like every other player. Nothing. I’m living in this hell by myself, away from my family, and I thought, ‘If this doesn’t make me stronger, what will?’”
He added: “When I was at United I had money, but I was still so down and depressed. People think your life’s different because you’ve got money, you’ve got fame, so they don’t treat you the same.”
Zaha opted to play internationally for the Ivory Coast, despite attempts from current Palace manager and then Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson to lure his allegiance to England.
Zaha said: “The Ivory Coast had been begging for ages. The country and the fans love me already, and I haven’t even done anything.
“I may not get the red carpet, it may not have the same Nike deals as when you play for England, but I’m going to be playing, I’m going to be loved, and that’s all I want. Nothing else.
“So when I watched the World Cup I was annoyed, yeah, because we could have been there.”
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