Wilfried Zaha is in line to finally make his competitive debut for Manchester United in Tuesday’s Capital One Cup fourth-round tie against Norwich City, with manager David Moyes conceding that he may have to loan the young winger out in January to give him more playing time. Zaha was Sir Alex Ferguson’s final signing as United boss before he spent the second half of last season back on loan at Crystal Palace. He has not been seen in the United first team since starting in the Community Shield in August.
The League Cup tie at Old Trafford would appear to present an ideal opportunity to give the 20-year-old a chance to impress. According to Moyes, it is only the strength of the competition for places that has prevented Zaha’s involvement to date.
"I just don't think we have had the right opportunity to get him on as much as would have liked,” he said, according to the Manchester United official website. "We don't want to put him in too quickly. We want to make it the right time.
"I've said I would look at in January as I wanted to have him here for six months to see how we work. I told him we would try to get him minutes but the competition in the wide areas we have with Nani, Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young, Adnan Januzaj and even Shinji Kagawa playing off the side means we are as strong there as anywhere.
"It's not that Wilf has done anything wrong, it's just that we have big competition and we have to try to make sure he gets some playing time. Unfortunately, we haven't done that with Wilf and, if it's still the case in January, we would look at it. But he is very much in my plans and in my thoughts all the time."
It remains to be seen how many of the team that beat Stoke City in dramatic fashion on Saturday will be involved against Norwich. In the last round a strong lineup was selected, but that was against fierce rivals Liverpool. Adnan Januzaj could come in after another fine showing, as a substitute, at the weekend. The likes of Javier Hernandez, Alexander Buttner and Anders Lindegaard will also be hoping to feature.
Norwich’s goalless draw at home to Cardiff City on Saturday means they have now gone three matches without a win and remain in the Premier League’s bottom three. Despite admitting that he will make changes to his lineup, manager Chris Hughton has dismissed the idea that the match represents a distraction.
“Would we rather be staying at home training or going to play a cup game against Manchester United at Old Trafford? Certainly we’d rather be going there,” he said, according to Norwich City’s official website.
“I will use the squad, but we’ve got a really competitive squad at the moment,” he added. “Yes there will be some changes, but I want to put out a team that can go to a very difficult place and try and get a result. That’s what we’ll certainly be attempting to do.”
Manchester United (probable)
D: Rafael, Jones, Smalling, Buttner
M: Fellaini, Anderson
Zaha, Kagawa, Januzaj
Norwich City (probable)
D: Whittaker, R. Bennett, Turner, Garrido
M: Redmond, Johnson, Fer, Hoolahan, Elmander
F: Van Wolfswinkel
Prediction: Even in victory on Saturday, Manchester United were still far from convincing. Questions remain over almost every aspect of the team, from a porous defense to a lack of fluidity going forward. Still, with both managers set to make changes and United having far greater strength in depth, a home win should be on the cards. Hernandez will likely be buoyed after his winner against Stoke, while Januzaj and Kagawa could provide some creative menace if they start in tandem.
Manchester United 2-0 Norwich
Where to watch: The Capital One Cup fourth-round tie will kick off at 3.45 p.m. ET. A live stream, which you view at your own discretion, will be available here.