Vicente Guaita is a great character down at the training ground. Never far behind the goalkeeper's arrival at Copers Cope is an outburst of excitement or laughter as the No.31 greets the staff and his teammates.
Palace fans, however, now have a chance to hear more from the shot-stopper, with our Spanish-speaking Social Media Manager sitting down with Guaita to find out a bit more about the 'keeper just over a year into his time in south London.
Guaita's interview features in the matchday programme for tomorrow's game against Norwich City, where the 32-year-old downplays a penalty save from Lionel Messi, reflects on his time at Valencia under Unai Emery and the lessons learnt from iconic Los Ches goalkeeper, Santiago Cañizares.
Below is a snippet from the interview:
Having once picked out Isco and Paco Alcácer as two teenage prospects to watch out for in Valencia’s youth setup, you have to wonder if the Spaniard would ever turn his eye for talent towards coaching.
“It’s not easy being a coach or a scout, but when you’re speaking about players like Isco or Paco Alcácer - or someone like Aaron Wan-Bissaka from last season - these are players that breakthrough and clearly speak for themselves on the field. You can always see that talent like that on the pitch.”
With that said, it’s clear Vicente buys into a team that trusts its youth: “Generally, it’s a really important thing to have players grown in your own academy and every X years you’ll get a Wilfried Zaha. I hope there are lots who can make the jump to the first team at Palace.”
His advice for them?
“It’s all about waiting. Over the course of the season you’ll see more players featuring because of different circumstances. It’s all about waiting for those opportunities. I remember my debut came because César Sánchez - who used to be at Tottenham - and Miguel Ángel Moya - who now plays at [Real] Sociedad - got injured. You have to know how to wait.”
With two clean sheets working as a nice backdrop to a solid start to the season for Vicente, it might take something special to shift him away from Roy Hodgson’s starting lineup. And it seems the Spaniard is more than satisfied with his time as an Eagle so far.
“The truth is, I’ve had a great year in the team and a great year at the club. Though it may not seem like it, it’s really difficult to leave your home country but I’m having a great time in London. I can say that I’m happy in England, happy at Palace and happy in the home of the Eagles.”
You can buy your matchday programme today for just £3.50 from vendors around the inside and outside of Selhurst Park. They now take card as well as cash, so make sure to grab your copy!
If you want to get a head start on the full interview from Guaita for the Canaries clash, you can purchase a digital version below for just £1.99. The programme will arrive in PDF format in your email inbox in seconds and can be viewed easily on mobile, tablet and desktop.