Yannick Bolasie says he is looking forward to the prospect of going up against England left-back Leighton Baines this weekend.
Baines’ Everton side visit a sold out Selhurst Park on Saturday in what is Palace’s first home 3pm kick-off of the 2013/14 Barclays Premier League season.
Bolasie admits it will be another tough test for the Eagles – who are looking to end a run of seven straight defeats – but one that he is relishing.
The winger told cpfc.co.uk: “It will be a very tough game. Roberto Martinez has got them playing very good football. They’ve always been a good team and they’ve always worked hard, but they’ve added that footballing style to their game now, which will make it tough for us.
“I always want to test myself against the best and right now Leighton is up there with Ashley Cole as one of the best full-backs in England. I’ll be looking forward to that battle because I want to prove to people that I can cut it in the Premier League.
“I think I’ve adjusted to this division okay. I’m still excited – when I come out on the pitch I’m sometimes too excited maybe, but I’m calming down now and that will help my game hopefully.
“It’s always a dream whenever I get a chance to enter the pitch in the Premier League. That’s the dream for every footballer, but I also look at it as a great achievement and I want to be here to stay, so hopefully we can stay up.”
Democratic Republic of Congo international Bolasie knows that in order to achieve that aim, Palace need to start taking their chances.
Despite giving good accounts of themselves against Arsenal and West Brom, the Eagles finished both games on the wrong end of 2-0 scorelines. The most recent reverse at The Hawthorns was a particularly painful one for Bolasie to take.
The 24-year-old added: “We were right involved in that game and were playing very well. We had more possession and probably put more passes together than them, but they hit us on the counter and scored. But that’s the Premier League – you’ve got to hurt your opponent s before they hurt you.”
Bolasie reserved special praise for caretaker boss Keith Millen, who took charge of those two matches following the departure of former manager Ian Holloway. Millen will be in the home dugout once again on Saturday for the visit of the Toffees – and that is by no means a bad thing from Bolasie’s point of view.
Speaking on Millen’s influence, Bolasie said: “He’s kept the place buzzing really. Training’s been very good, very sharp, so the place is buzzing and the boys are enjoying training, which is the most important thing.
“The boys that were here last year know what it’s like losing Dougie, so that helps and we’ll get there.”