England legends Paul Ince and John Barnes have been described an idol for Crystal Palace and Ivory Coast international Wilfred Zaha.
The Eagles winger who has been a victim of racism in recent time drew inspiration from how both men handled the situation during their playing days for Manchester United and Liverpool respectively.
“Paul Ince and John Barnes played for top teams where there’s so much scrutiny so I can imagine the abuse and racial abuse they had,” he told Sky Sports.
“People hide behind football to abuse you but then somehow they throw in your colour. Hats off to them – the abuse we get now we can report it and hopefully things happen – but to have gone through that every single day with no repercussions, it must have been the hardest thing ever.
“We have to thank those players. They stuck by it and gave us other black players the opportunity to come through as well.”