08/06/2013 09:00, Report by Adam Marshall
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Zaha upholds traditions

The signing of Wilfried Zaha upholds United's tradition of maintaining a strong English presence within the playing squad, according to David Gill.

The Reds' outgoing chief executive wrapped up a deal for the tricky winger in the final transfer of his time in office, and sees the deal as exciting business for the Barclays Premier League champions.

“It’s quite interesting that for England recently we had five players in the team, which is good for us," says Gill, in the club's official new book Champions 20|13.

"The backbone of Manchester United has always been this way. Matt Busby had it and Alex [Ferguson] has nurtured it himself – this mix between British or English players and foreigners – and that’s what this club is about.

"It’s going to be a big learning curve for him [Zaha], he knows that. But I think he’s going to be an exciting Manchester United player; that’s our view. He’s something different. He can beat a man, he can play in the middle or wide. It’s great for us."

Zaha was immediately loaned back to Palace after completing his January transfer to Old Trafford and helped the Eagles to secure promotion back to the Barclays Premier League via the Championship play-offs.

“Seeing where our squad was at, it wasn’t appropriate to bring him in back in January," said Gill. "It was better for him to continue playing with Palace before joining us in the summer. So we did a deal and that was a precondition, really. We were very happy when we spoke to the chairman of Palace that it was only to be done on that basis.

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