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#AskPunch

18 May 2016


What is your favourite goal you have scored for Crystal Palace? 

"It would probably have to be the Stoke goal, in the home game, in our first season back in the Premier League. It was after I’d missed the penalty at Tottenham. After missing that penalty it was important for me to bounce back by scoring two in two."

What is the belief like around the changing rooms at the moment?

"It’s been good. Obviously we haven’t hit the heights that we wish we could have in the Premier League in the second half of the season, but we’re in the FA Cup Final. We’ve got to look forward to that!"

Best player you've played alongside in your career?

"It’s difficult because I’ve played with some very gifted, technically blessed players and I’ve played with some players like Yannick and Wilf here who have got unbelievable trickery to beat players. Then I’ve played with someone like Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw, who are just technically gifted. You can give them the ball in any situation and they can deal with it. I’ve probably played with a few, but I couldn’t really pinpoint one to be honest. It’s hard!"

Prefer playing centrally or out wide?

"It all depends really. I’m happy to play wherever my manager wants to play me, whatever works best for the team."

Who has the worst music taste in the squad?

"Damien Delaney without a doubt! Damien Delaney. Without. A. Doubt. I understand you’re going to have different music tastes in the dressing room, but one minute he likes what the lads are playing, like Drake and Future, things like that. Then the next minute it changes and he goes back to Bon Jovi!"



What is your proudest moment as a professional football player?

"It’s a hard one that… I think I’d have to say staying in the Premier League with Palace in that first season. Just because of the way I walked into this football club, where it was and the doubts people had about it and the players. What we achieved in that season was remarkable considering where we were at Christmas and where we ended the season. By staying up we changed that image of being a club that goes up then straight back down."

Do you intend to go into coaching when your career ends? What would you say is your best managerial quality?

"I want to do my badges, but I’m not too sure about going straight into management. I want it there [as an option]. I’d like to be involved in football, but in what sort of capacity I don’t know yet. It’d be good to have my badges there just in case I decide I want to, but it’s not like I’ve got my heart set on it just now."

"My best managerial quality? I’d say being able to handle different types of people, different characters. I understand people quite well, some people I can see they need a lift, others I let them get on with it."

What's your favourite moment in a Palace shirt?

"I’d probably have to say the Semi-Final, just for the fact that we’ve got a chance of achieving something. We’ve got one more game, it’s a 90 minute match, we can really achieve something there."



Who is the best player you have ever played against and why?

"Defensively, Ashley Cole. He’s very intelligent. He knows when to come tight to you, when to drop off. You thought you had time and then he’d nick it off you."

"Attacking-wise, definitely when he was on it: Eden Hazard."

Has being closer to home and playing for your local club had more of an impact on you than you thought it would?

"Yeah. But it’s got a flipside. When things are going well it’s really positive, it can have a really good effect. When things aren’t going too well it can be hard for you."

"Don’t get me wrong, everyone feels it, the whole dressing room feels it when we’re not doing well. Nobody wants to lose or not do well – our dressing room is not like that. But you do see things in a different way when you’re from here. It’s my local area. I can’t walk anywhere without seeing somebody I know, or someone of someone."

How did you feel when you heard Palace were interested in signing you?

"It was weird. At the time I was at Southampton in the Premier League and we were doing well, then I had Palace were interested as soon as they went up. I waited, waited, waited… Throughout my career there have been times when I could have come back, but I felt this was the right time."

"When I first walked in this place wasn’t the best, we turned it around as a group of players and kick-started that transition. There’s been a lot of hard work from the dressing room to get us to the position where we are. I can’t look back."

Would you swap all of your goals for Palace to grab the winner in the FA Cup final?

"Yeah definitely. I'd give them all back!"

Would you like to stay with Palace in a coaching role once you retire or do you see yourself as the next big pundit?

"I’d like to come back to Palace in some capacity, but what that is I’m not too sure. Punditry – I’m not too sure about that. I think it’s a bit too political for me!"

Who is the least and most skilful in the squad?

"I’ll get in trouble if I don’t say these two, so I’d have to say it’s between Wilf and Yala for most skilful. Without a doubt. They’ve both got very good skills with the ball."

"Least, he’s going to hate me for saying this, but I’d probably say Damo. It’s just not in his nature to do a drag back!"

How did you feel when you scored against Norwich to gain us our first Premier League win of 2016?

"It was good. I think there was a massive sense of relief from myself, as I hadn’t scored in so long, and getting three points was huge. It was relief for everyone. For the community, the fans, the manager, the players, it was a massive lift."



If you had a choice, what Palace team (apart from current one) would you like to play in?

"Definitely the Ian Wright era. Just to play with a player of that calibre…"

"I forgot to mention Brighty! Him too - he’s good at given knock downs and I could run on to the ball playing behind them two."

Best mate at the club?

*Laughing* "I'm friends with everyone!"

Who do you room with on away days?

"We all have our own rooms. The only people that share a room are Joe and Wayne…"



Who has the best music taste in the squad?

"I’d have to say Wilf. Sako thinks he’s got a bit, but Wilf’s the man. Wilf can make it happen."

What is your ultimate goal in your footballing career? Would be amazing to see you in a England shirt.

"Playing for England would be the pinnacle, but I’ve forgotten about that, that’s at the back of my mind. The ultimate goal is to win something with Crystal Palace."

What's your [dream] 5 a side team out of players you've played with?

"Definitely Wilf and Yala, just for their skills and five-a-side’s about that close control. Lallana, he’s got such quick feet. Luke Shaw and I’d probably have myself in there. No keeper, the keeper’s non-existent. I think that would get to the final of a Power League tournament!"

CLICK HERE for full details of the match being shown live at Selhurst Park Stadium.


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