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Ex-Eagles To Watch For At World Cup

12 June 2018

As well as cheering on Luka Milivojevic and their own respective nations, Palace fans might also be keeping an eye out on how some former Eagles get on during the World Cup.

In total, there are five players who have previously pulled on the red and blue stripes heading to Russia, as well as England boss Gareth Southgate who started his career with Palace in the 1990s.

Below is the full list of the club alumni featuring on footballing grandest stage this summer:

Jose Fonte – Portugal

A late bloomer to international football, Fonte will be looking to replicate his nation’s success at Euro 2016 and lift another major trophy during the latter years of his career.

His move to the Eagles in 2007 arguably put him on the footballing map, having been rejected by manager Fernando Santos at both Benfica and Sporting Lisbon. In total he made 92 appearances for Palace before financial constraints forced him to move to Southampton, where he spent eight seasons helping them advance from League One to become a force in the Premier League.

He belatedly won a first cap in 2014, and has since made 30 appearances for his country, winning the Euros two years later, ironically under Santos’ management. After leaving the Saints in January 2017 for West Ham United, he moved on to China with Dalian Yifang just over 12 months later.

Mile Jedinak – Australia

The former Palace captain is heading to his third World Cup, having become the first Eagle to score in the competition when he tucked home a penalty against Holland four years ago.

He started his career in his homeland, but was brought to SE25 from Turkish team Gençlerbirliği by Dougie Freedman in the summer of 2011. It proved to be an inspired move as Jedinak represented the club 176 times over six seasons, and skippered the side to Championship play-off glory in 2013.

He won 38 of his 75 Australia caps during his time with Palace, setting a club record in the process, and netted a hat-trick in a play-off win against Honduras to send them through to the finals. He currently plays for Championship side Aston Villa whom he joined from the Eagles in August 2016.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek – England

Fresh in the minds of Palace fans will be the midfielder’s displays last season, who enjoyed a successful loan spell in south London after temporarily switching from Chelsea.

Well-known to Gareth Southgate following his performances for the Three Lions’ under-21 side, Loftus-Cheek’s early outings in red and blue won him his first senior call-up in November and he starred in a goalless draw against world champions Germany at Wembley to win the man-of-the-match award, and followed that up with another start against Brazil a few days later.

He ended his time at Selhurst Park with 25 appearances and two goals to his name, during which time he impressed Southgate sufficiently to add him to his youthful-looking England squad heading to Russia.

Steve Mandanda – France

Mandanda is heading to his fifth international tournament this summer with France, but has yet to play in any of them having been understudy to Gregory Coupet and Hugo Lloris.

His time at Palace only saw him make 10 appearances for the Eagles during the 2016/17 season, however he has been a regular in the French national team squads since 2008 when he was starring for Marseille. After departing Palace last summer, he returned to l’OM and was named Ligue 1 Goalkeeper of the Year for the fifth time in his career.

His displays for Marseille in the league and during their run to the UEFA Europa League final last term have seen him called up by Didier Deschamps, and he won his 27th cap for Les Bleus against the Republic of Ireland last month.

Victor Moses – Nigeria

The Palace academy graduate will be appearing at his second World Cup having featured twice for Nigeria in the 2014 edition, but unlike then he will be one of the Super Eagles’ key players in Russia.

Born in Lagos, Moses moved to south London as an 11-year-old and was soon spotted by the Eagles academy. After making his first-team debut aged 16, he went on to play 69 times for Palace before financial problems saw him sold to Wigan Athletic, but he now finds himself playing as a wing-back for Chelsea and won the Premier League in 2016/17 before the FA Cup arrived last month.

Relieved of his defensive duties at international level,  has been in fine form for Nigeria over the last couple of years, and has scored four goals in his last eight international appearances to help his country reach Russia.

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