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What happened on Clyne's 2008 Palace debut?

24 October 2020

Nathaniel Clyne made his first Palace appearance since resigning as he kicked-off against Fulham at Craven Cottage.

The Academy graduate made his return almost exactly 12 years after his debut, graduating from the club's Academy on October 18th, 2008.

The then-17-year-old had been with Palace for three years after joining from Tottenham Hotspur aged 14.

Reflecting on Clyne's first arrival, Academy Director Gary Issott said in 2019: "Clyney was struggling with the travel to Tottenham, as he was living with him mum in Brixton.

"Spurs let him go, and of course I knew him and spoke to his mum – so I said we’d take him. He was an Under-14. That was the best free transfer we’ve probably ever had!"

Clyne's first competitive game in red and blue came against Barnsley in a late Championship clash at Selhurst Park. Neil Warnock handed the youngster his debut in a golden age of Academy talent, something he did for multiple Palace prospects such as Victor Moses and Sean Scannell.

Academy graduates 2007-10

2007

2008

2009

2010

Lee Hills Ashley Robinson James Comley Alex Wynter
John Bostock Ben Kudjodi Kieron Cadogan Wilfried Zaha
Victor Moses Kieron Djilali Nathaniel Pinney Matthew Parsons
Ryan Hall Nathaniel Clyne - -
Sean Scannell Rhoys Wiggins - -

It proved to be a smart move by Warnock, with Palace going on the trump Tykes 3-0 - goals coming from Ben Watson (two) and Shefki Kuqi.

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In fact, the opening goal came through a Palace Academy link-up, with Moses fouled in the box to tee-up Watson's successful penalty. Watson, of course, made his debut in red and blue aged 17 in 2003.

Clyne played the full 90 minutes and enjoyed a relatively solid performance, keeping a clean sheet in the process. He was, however, replaced by the returning Danny Butterfield for the following game (a 1-0 loss away to Birmingham City) but wasn't deterred; going on to make 28 further appearances in all competitions.

He performed so well across the 08/09 season that he earned Young Player of the Season for that campaign and the following one too. He also scooped Football League Young Player of the Year in 2010, progressed to Palace Player of the Year for 2010/11 and made the PFA Team of the Year in 2011/12.

He returns to the Eagles having amassed 137 appearances for Crystal Palace, 358 domestic games overall, 14 England caps and both Europa League and Champions League runners-up medals.

All of that from a successful debut 12 years ago under the Selhurst lights.

Nathaniel Clyne, one of our own, enjoyed similar success upon his return - beating Fulham 2-1.

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