Conor Gallagher was one of our most successful loan warriors last season as he won a lot of playing time under two (very) different coaches at West Bromwich Albion – Slaven Bilić and Sam Allardyce leaned on the youngster of Chelsea in their midfield setup, although ultimately the Baggies would fail to avoid relegation.
But after a brief return to the mothership during preseason training, Gallagher left, this time joining Crystal Palace for the coming season. And after being ineligible for his first game of the season, a 3-0 loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, the 21-year-old made his debut yesterday and wasted no time in impressing.
Palace may not have won the game, struggling to a 0-0 draw against Brentford, but Gallagher turned some heads with his all-in-action performance, which also forced a tactical change in the manager’s game. Brentford Thomas Frank after the youngster took a shot from both the post and the crossbar in the first half.
“Defensively we only gave Gallagher a big chance and kept Zaha and Gallagher quiet. We talked about [Gallagher] at half-time because we knew he was a very good attacking midfielder who likes to find pockets in half-space. We adjusted him at half-time and I don’t think he was a threat in the second half. We adjusted that.
-Thomas Frank; The source: Football.London
Palace boss Patrick Vieira was much less nuanced in his praise, including for the second half, which is certainly nice to see.
“I think Conor had a really good game. I think he was unlucky not to mark the luck he created for himself. He was full of energy on the pitch.
“The club worked really hard to bring him to Palace, and there were a few clubs around him. I was really happy that we convinced him to come to us, he will be an important player for this football club. It was his first game – I think he was physically high and low sometimes, but overall I think he had a really solid performance and I was really happy in the first and second half.
-Patrick Vieira; The source: Crystal palace fc
Vieira is looking to get his team to play a fast-paced and pressing modern game, a pretty big difference from the last few years under Roy Hodgson. It will take time, but should be a perfect fit for the young Chelsea midfielder.
Hopefully he can build on that good first impression and also come back in goal like he did for Charlton Athletic a few years ago.