Jonathan Williams: Gianfranco Zola one of my heroes

Jonathan Williams

Crystal Palace's Jonathan Williams says facing Gianfranco Zola's Watford at Wembley will be a surreal experience.

Teenage midfielder Williams idolised the Italian playmaker in a childhood supporting Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

"I grew up watching Chelsea and Zola really was one of my footballing heroes," Williams told BBC London 94.9.

"The way he moved and his technical ability was fantastic. He was the player I just loved to watch and the play-off final will be quite surreal."

The 19-year-old, who made his Wales debut in March, missed two months of this season after suffering an injury against Millwall in October and had to sit out almost five months of the last campaign because of a broken leg.

He started on the wing in both of play-off semi-final games against Brighton, displacing regular starter Yannick Bolasie.

"After the long injury lay-offs I've had, to come back in and start has been brilliant," Williams continued.

"Since the change of manager I've played centrally, out wide and played deeper in the midfield, and I think learning those positions has been great for my development."

This weekend's clash with Watford will be the Eagles' first trip to the new Wembley and their first play-off final since facing West Ham at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium in 2004.

That day a Neil Shipperley goal was enough to take Palace back into the Premier League after six years in the second tier.

"I was in the crowd when we beat West Ham in Cardiff last time and I still remember it vividly," added Williams.

"To be part of a team that has got there is crazy, exciting and a massive honour."

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