Patrick Vieira says that Crystal Palace’s new academy redevelopment will help them beat competition from the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham for the capital’s hottest young talents.
Patrick Vieira said “Coaches and players need to have these types of places to improve. I think this is an important tool for the football club to have because if you want to develop players and challenge other teams around you, you need these kinds of facilities. I think having a facility like this will allow us to fight more with the teams around us and to convince young players around this area to stay around this area. When you bring a young player here and let him visit a facility like this, [it] has everything that will allow a young player to develop and become a Crystal Palace player.”
So far this season Vieira has already handed one academy player his senior Crystal Palace debut in Jesurun Rak-Sakyi, who came off the bench for the Eagles in their opening Premier League match of the season against Chelsea. More players have been promoted to first-team training during international breaks also, with Vieira’s side based just over the road from the academy.
Patrick Vieira said “It’s important to keep that relationship between the first team and academy players. We have a few who played with us in pre-season and a few are very close to being ready to spend more time with the first team. But what is important for us is we have to create a pathway for those players. The best way to develop is to play games. It’s important for us to have a clear plan as to how we help those special talents develop.”
The £20million site, which was officially unveiled by England boss Gareth Southgate on Thursday, includes a full upgrade on the existing facilities with the site now entirely befitting of its Category One status. Palace have in the past done well to unearth some of London’s best young players, with current first-team players Wilfried Zaha, Nathaniel Clyne and Tyrick Mitchell all coming through the Eagles’ junior ranks. Now, according to Vieira, the club can start to kick on and develop more players thanks to the allure of their new academy site, which the Frenchman says will help them beat off their close competition.
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