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Crystal Palace's Top 10 Welsh Players

1 March 2016

To celebrate the fact it's St David's Day today, have dug into the archives and come up with our list of the top 10 Welshmen to represent the club.

With over 70 players to choose from it was hard whittling the list down to a top 10, with some famous faces missing the cut due to the fact that there are so many players from the principality who have represented the red and blue with such distinction over the years. 

However take a look at our selection and let us know what you think!

10. Bill Davies – 1907-1908 & 1910-15, 208 appearances, 23 goals
Number 10 on our list was actually the very first player in the Eagles' history to gain an international cap when he featured for Wales in their 2-1 defeat to Scotland in March 1908. Having helped Palace to fourth in the Southern League in just their fourth year of existence, after a stint at West Bromwich Albion he returned to narrowly avoid missing out on the title in 1913/14 on goal average. He won four caps for Wales, two of which came during his time with the Eagles.

9. Eric Young – 1990-1995, 204 appearances, 17 goals
Nicknamed “The Ninja” due to the headband he sported in matches, Young had won the FA Cup with Wimbledon before signing for Palace, and was a part of the glorious era that brought about a FA Cup final appearance, a ZDS Cup triumph and a third-place finish in the First Division. He was a rock at the heart of their defence, possessed a great long-range shot and was a threat from set-pieces. Despite being born in Singapore, he represented Wales 21 times even though he only made his international debut at the age of 30.

8. Joe Ledley – 2014-present, 68 appearances, 4 goals
Ledley has been a star in the Palace midfield since arriving from Celtic on deadline day in February 2014. Some solid displays, including a goal on his debut against West Bromwich Albion, helped the club achieve Premier League survival for the first time in 2013/14 and he has gone from strength to strength. He has won 59 caps for Wales to date, captaining them on occasion, and heads to France this summer - possibly alongside clubmates Wayne Hennessey and Jonny Williams - after Wales qualified for Euro 2016.

7. Kit Symons – 2001-2004, 60 appearances
Despite a relatively short career with the club, the veteran defender put in some strong displays for the club during a turbulent time in its history to help keep them in the second tier. He later had a successful stint as caretaker manager in 2003 as he guided the Eagles away from danger once again, and was assistant manager when the club won promotion to the Premier League in 2004. Symons won 36 caps for his country over an eight year spell.

6. Vic Rouse – 1956-1963, 257 appearances
The Swansea-born shot-stopper is fifth on the club's all-time appearance list for goalkeepers but strangely he won just one international cap for his country, however he made history in the process as he was the first player from the Fourth Division to do so for any nation when he played for Wales against Northern Ireland in in April 1959. He won promotion with the club in 1960/61, their first in 40 seasons, as they climbed into the third tier.

5. Ian Walsh – 1975-1982, 133 appearances, 27 goals
An original Eagles academy graduate, Walsh won the FA Youth Cup with Palace in 1977 before forcing his way into the side as an 18-year-old. He was a key member of the side that won the Second Division title in 1979, scoring in the famous game against Burnley on the final day of the season which saw over 51,000 squeeze into Selhurst, and won 14 caps of his 18 caps for the Red Dragons whilst wearing the red and blue stripes, netting on his international debut against the Republic of Ireland in September 1979.

4. James “Ginger” Williams – 1909-14, 149 appearances, 58 goals
Palace's top-scoring Welshman ever, and 16th in their history, the inside-right or centre forward rattled in a goal on average less than every three outings during the early years of the club's existence, having arrived from Birmingham City. He once netted five goals in a game against Southend United in 1909, and these goalscoring feats prompted Wales to hand his two caps in the 1912 Home Championships competition. 

3. Peter Nicholas – 1976-1981 & 1983-1985, 199 appearances, 16 goals
Another member of the Eagles side that won the Youth Cup in 1977, the tough-tackling defensive midfielder went one better than Ian Walsh and helped the side retain the trophy the following year before lifting the Division Two championship two years later. After a spell at Arsenal he returned to Selhurst Park before enjoying a lengthy career which ended in 1993, with 73 caps to his name as well as a stint as Wales captain. 

2. Ian Evans – 1974-1979, 163 appearances, 16 goals
A popular player among the Eagles fans, Evans was rangy central defender who made an instant impression after arriving from Queens Park Rangers, and quickly became captain of Palace in the mid 1970s as he skippered them to  promotion to the Second Division in 1977. That was the same season that he became a regular for Wales side, helping them to their first win against England on away turf for 40 years, and won 13 caps before injury cruelly robbed him of two years of his career.

1. Chris Coleman – 1991-1995, 191 appearances, 16 goals
The current national team boss arrived from his hometown side Swansea City and gradually broke into the Palace side whilst establishing himself as a full international, scoring on his debut against Austria in 1992. He won the First Division title with Palace in 1994, scoring the goal that clinched promotion against Luton Town, and was subsequently named the club's Player of the Year. He won 11 of his 36 caps in SE25 and was named in the club's Centenary XI in 2005, and has become the first Wales manager to lead his side into an international tournament since 1958.

What do you think of our list? Debate it on Twitter by tweeting us @CPFC and using the hashtag#WelshEagles

Like this? Take a look at our previous countdowns of the best Irish players and England internationals who represented the club.

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