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Puncheon: I Feel At Home Here

15 May 2015

Jason Puncheon has revealed his joy at signing a new deal at Crystal Palace, having committed his long-term future to his hometown club.

The midfielder will remain under contract in south London until June 2019, which manager Alan Pardew was delighted to announce during his pre-Liverpool press conference, calling Puncheon the best player at the club during his time as boss.

Speaking about his new deal, the 28-year-old said: "I'm really happy to sign, I found a place where I feel at home here. I'm really happy and it's a great time to be at this football club. As a local lad, when the opportunity came up to sign a new deal, I didn't really think twice about it."

He speaks about feeling at home at Palace, the club he supported growing up, and that is something the manager touched on during his press conference on Friday, suggesting Puncheon feels comfortable at the club. Asked whether his decision to commit his long-term future was because of his ties to Palace and the fact he feels at home in SE25, Puncheon said: "It's definitely a reflection of that. 

"For me the most important thing is doing your work for your team. Without the team I wouldn't have been able to sign that contract, because the team has done incredibly well and we've got ourselves in a great position following on from last season. Long may it continue. 

"There's a lot of desire in this squad to kick on a bit further," he added.

"I think we've got a nice mixture in our squad of experience and younger players. Everybody's still growing as players and I think we've got a good team to go forward with."

The midfielder is seen as one of the more senior players at the club now, given his Premier League experience and the vital role he plays week-in, week-out. Alan Pardew claimed that Puncheon has a lot of influence over the Academy players, given the fact that he is a local boy who has made it in the top flight.

Puncheon's new deal will, therefore, be a boost to many of the younger players who look up to him and want to follow in his foot steps. He is committed to helping the younger players progress, offering them words of advice when needed, though he also stressed the need for players to stand on their own to feet as they try to make it professionally.

"Coming from where I come from I know what a lot of these kids are going through, the challenges in their lives and what they're surrounded by, so if I can help them along the way, it's going to help the football club and - not only that - it's going to help them personally," he said. 

"That's what I try to do, I'm not going to sit here and say that I'm a figure that checks on them every day, but they know they can come and talk to me about anything and if they need help with anything I'm there to help them and I'll try to guide them the best I can. 

"I see a lot of similarities between some of the kids and myself when I was their age. Some of those kids have got bright futures and it's about helping them, some times they can get left in the lurch, so I want to help them try and come through. You can't hold their hand, they're in a great position already, but you don't want them to go backwards, so if I can help them to go forwards I will.

Five goals and seven assists in the Premier League this season make Puncheon one of Palace's main attacking threats. His exploits in the final third, quality on the ball and intelligence have all helped to make him a fan favourite in SE25, which is something he loves.

His popularity has clearly played a part in making him feel so at home at Palace, but he insists that the most important thing is performing on the pitch to prove his worth and earn the respect of his teammates.

"Everybody likes the appreciation, but for me the most important thing is that I'm appreciated by the people at the football club, the manager and my teammates. That's very important, if you're important to those guys then it really helps. But not only that, you have to make yourself important, you have to produce on the pitch and I feel that I've been doing that."

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