Crystal Palace’s win in the second round of the Carabao Cup against Swansea was a special moment for centre-back Ryan Inniss.
Having been at the club since the age of 14, the academy graduate made his debut for the Eagles in the victory and was keen to thank those who have kept faith with him after a challenging couple of years.
The 23-year-old said: “I’ve had a lot of injuries and the club have stuck by me. I’m grateful for the support and the backing I’ve had from family, friends and people at the club. It’s a great opportunity for me and I’m happy."
The towering defender was part of a back four that featured Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Martin Kelly and Jeffrey Schlupp that kept a young Swansea side at bay. “It was a real eye-opener the intensity of the game in the first half," he said. "I’ve been out in the lower leagues and it’s a different kind of football.
“I felt like I grew into the game. The second half we came out, sorted a few things out and didn’t take as many liberties and tried to move the ball. There’s a lot of things I can take from tonight but after getting a clean sheet, I’ll sleep well tonight.
“Martin [Kelly] has looked after me over the years he has been here, even when I haven’t been with the first-team as much. He talked me through it, he told me defend first and then play. Even off the pitch, he keeps me on the ball.
“We knew coming into this game that we couldn’t take Swansea lightly. They can move the ball, they’re very sharp and have good movement. I’m a big lad, it’s good to get my feet going. There’s a lot of things I can work on. I always want something to work on, it keeps me hungry.”
With the club progressing into the next round it could be a chance for Inniss to cement his place in the Palace squad. But the former England under-17 international is not looking too far into the future.
“I’m going to take it step by step. The more I can spend with the first-team would be great. I’m privileged to be fit and be in professional football still, so I can only thank those around me. I just want to show what I can do.”