On the day five Crystal Palace Academy players earned call-ups to England and two senior players also received the nod, manager Patrick Vieira has cautioned that the club’s role is to keep its young prospects grounded, and to support them on their journey to professional football.
Speaking in his pre-Wolves press conference after Victor Akinwale, Jesurun Rak-Sakyi, Kaden Rodney, Jack Wells-Morrison and Joe Whitworth were all named as part of either England Under-18s or Under-20s, Vieira was asked to explain his approach to the roster of young talents at the club.
“It’s about as a football club how we keep them grounded,” he replied. “They still have the potential but we know potential won’t be enough to perform in the Premier League or make a career.
“They have the support they need to be Premier League players and they will have to go through good periods but as well bad periods. When they go into those difficult periods we will give them the support they need.
“I believe we have the support in the football club for those young players to keep developing themselves.”
Vieira was also asked to share his advice with a former Academy graduate rather than future ones, with Wilfried Zaha hitting the career landmark of 50 goals against Manchester City.
Vieira urged the south Londoner to keep striving for the best: “I think it [his next challenge] is to fulfil his potential. Wilfried is such a good player. He can score goals, he’s really good in one v one situations.
“I will want him to maximise his potential, to do even more than what he’s been doing because he has the ability. He’s an important player for us and we will keep challenging to perform every week.”
Finally, Vieira then looked inward, reflecting on his first 10 games in charge at Palace. He said now is not the time to make such statements: “I don’t call it success. I’m just in a club that have some young players who want to keep developing themselves.
“I work in a club that has a really good support; the staff around me have experience and the enthusiasm to spend time on the field. They love doing what they’re doing. I’m at the right place to enjoy doing what I’m doing.”