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WATCH: Kouyate Opens Up on Moving Country in 'Heading Home'

7 February 2019

Crystal Palace midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate has spoken openly about life moving from his native Senegal aged just 17 whilst giving Palace TV a lift home in a new feature, 'Heading Home'.

Pulling up in his Bentley GT Continental on Copers Cope Road, Kouyate allowed Palace TV into his car where he spoke about Palace's calibre, English food and, most poignantly, upping sticks as a promising teenage talent.

Explaining what happened when he left Dakar to ultimately end up in Brussels as an aspiring young footballer, Kouyate said: "I was 17-years-old, Senegal to Greece, Greece to Paris and after, Paris to Belgium. It was so, so hard for me in the beginning. I left my family, I left all my friends there [Senegal].

"I'm not happy in my first year in Europe, I'm crying every day [because] I want to go back to Senegal. The first time I came here, nobody talks to you, you are alone and you don't have friends. The food is not good and it's so cold! I called my chairman then and I said, 'I need to go back'.

"Everything changed after, my mind became strong. I left everything in Senegal to come here and I don't play for me, I play for my family."

Moving on to other, more uplifting subjects, Kouyate then stated his belief in the Palace team, emphasising that his Eagles teammates are thoroughly talented and ready to achieve something their ability deserves.

He said: "I enjoy playing with them [the team], I talk to the boys and I say, 'this is a very, very good team'. You see Macca, Wilf, Luka, Andros, Max, Schluppy, Jordan, we have too many good - Christian! - we have a good squad, we have a very, very good squad.

"I said to Mama, 'Mama, this team is unbelievable'. We only need to work hard and to believe in ourselves to do something good."

To hear more from Kouyate, including his view on English food, who's the best passenger in the Palace squad and about his morning routine, just click on the video below.

And to buy tickets to see the Senegalese star's 'unbelievable' teammates competing with West Ham United this Saturday, click here now.


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