After four years under Roy Hodgson, Crystal Palace are now stepping into the unknown under new boss Patrick Vieira – but do so for good reason to be excited.
The last time they replaced an experienced manager with one who had never made it in the Premier League, the experiment lasted just five games.
But Vieira can rest assured that he will be at Selhurst Park considerably longer than Frank de Boer did, with a crop of young talent providing grounds for optimism.
Patrick Vieira hopes the young stars of Crystal Palace will jump-start his reign
The South London club has appointed the Frenchman this summer as the successor to Roy Hodgson
Michael Olise and Marc Guehi have already joined the club this summer as the Frenchman is putting together his roster. The group of players available to him, especially at the forefront, suggests that entertaining, attacking football is more than possible.
It remains to be seen how Vieira chooses to set up his squad and how careful he decides to be, but the next generation of talent at Palace is able to kick off his tenure in style and lead a youth revolution.
Sports post takes a look at the young stars at the forefront of the new era in Selhurst Park, whether they’re new faces or those already in the first team.
Palace has wasted no time adding players Vieira has at their disposal for the new season.
Earlier this month, South London announced the signing of Olise from Reading for £8 million. The 19-year-old was the EFL Young Player of the Season last season.
The arrival of Michael Olise will add even more youth and excitement to Palace in the future
Vieira’s new number 7 scored seven goals and gave his team-mates 12 assists last season, and will provide real excitement for his new club from the attacking midfield.
There will also be a solid foundation for that attacking talent. Palace have spent £18million to bring Guehi to Selhurst Park, with the centre-back coming over from Chelsea and signing a five-year deal.
Guehi, 21, was loaned to Swansea last season and has played 45 games for the Welsh club, including every minute of their play-off campaign.
He has represented England at every level, from U16 to U21, and has spoken about how Palace’s young talents have convinced him to compete.
Palace has spent £18m to sign Chelsea’s talented 21-year-old centre-back Marc Guehi
‘[The club is taking] a really exciting direction with the new gaffer that’s come in,” Guehi said.
“There are a lot of good young players here and it’s clear that such a stable club with top players really seduced me and pushed me to come.”
Only Southampton and West Brom conceded more Premier League goals than Palace last season, so Vieira hopes Guehi can help bolster the rear.
Stars to return
Ebere Eze produced a series of top performances for Palace last season following his £19.5million move from QPR a year ago, so much so that a call-up to Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2020 squad was on the line.
But a serious Achilles tendon injury sustained in training at the back of the season means the 23-year-old will miss much of the season ahead.
Cruelly it was reported that the youngster had been injured in training and on his return to the dressing rooms he found a message telling him he would be included in England’s preliminary European Championship squad.
A return in early 2022 seems most likely, even as Palace fans were extremely excited to see Eze without crutches in a recent post from the club on social media.
Ebere Eze likely out until 2022 but could lighten up the Premier League again when he returns terugkeer
Vieira will have a brilliantly exciting young talent on his hands when Eze returns to first-team action, and a player who, alongside Olise and Wilfried Zaha, can threaten any defense they come across.
Nathan Ferguson came over from West Brom to Palace last summer, but has yet to make his first appearance for the club due to injuries.
A knee problem was an issue when Ferguson arrived at Selhurst Park, followed by setbacks during his rehabilitation.
Persistent injuries prevented Nathan Ferguson from making his first appearance at Palace
The right-back approached full fitness towards the end of last season but tore his Achilles tendon during practice in a similar incident to Eze’s. It is hoped Ferguson returns before the end of 2021, and if he does, Palace hopes the 20-year-old will make up for lost time.
Talent of the academy
Zaha needs no introduction or explanation of how important he is to this side of Crystal Palace, and the club will do everything they can to ensure that their star man remains at Selhurst Park alongside the talented squad that is being built.
The 28-year-old, who has now been with the club for 16 years, scored the only goal when Palace defeated Walsall 1-0 on Saturday to give Vieira’s reign a winning start.
Rob Street started Vieira’s first game as boss and assisted Wilfried Zaha’s goal in the first half
The goal was scored by Rob Street, the 19-year-old striker chosen by Vieira to start alongside Zaha up front. While Christian Benteke was impressive last season, reaching double figures in the league, Street hopes Vieira will regularly turn this campaign to the youth.
Tyrick Mitchell also started against Walsall and is a player who has made it through the academy and has now established himself in the first team.
He made 19 league appearances under Hodgson last season and even scored a goal with an assist in the 3-2 win over Aston Villa in May.
Now that Patrick van Aanholt has left the club this summer, Mitchell has the chance to make himself first choice on the left side of the Vieira defence.
There’s also an incredible group of academy stars ready to break through, with the likes of Jesurun Rak-Sakyi, David Omilabu and Scott Banks to name just three.
Tyrick Mitchell is ready to make himself the club’s first-choice left-back under the new boss