How Vieira transformed Crystal Palace as England call

There weren’t prouder days for many Crystal Palace supporters in Vieira, who reached an FA Cup semi-final on Sunday, before three of their players – Marc Guehi, Tyrick Mitchell and Conor Gallagher – didn’t show up for England yesterday.

For context, only 15 Palace players have ever won England caps, including Gallagher in November, and this Three Lions side reached the final of a major tournament in June and have perhaps the most talent pool depth of all generations.

Guehi and Mitchell can expect to earn their first caps in the friendlies against Switzerland and Ivory Coast, which would be more of a testament to the great job Vieira is doing.

As well as preparing to face Chelsea at Wembley, Palace have effectively secured their Premier League status with nine games to go and are eyeing their first half since 2014-15. Veteran fans have claimed the Eagles haven’t played such good football since Terry Venables’ first term.

Three Lions: Crystal Palace trio Tyrick Mitchell, Marc Guehi and Conor Gallagher have all been called up by England

/ The FA via Getty Images

After the effectiveness of Roy Hodgson, Vieira dropped Palace. Players report the Frenchman to be an inspirational motivator, but say his great gift lies in the simplicity of his instructions.

Regardless of whether Palace can beat Chelsea, Vieira is surely a contender for manager of the season. And at a time when there has never been more debate over foreign ownership in English football, local boy Steve Parish also deserves huge credit.

Under Hodgson, Palace held on but ran few pulses. It has often felt like the Eagles simply exist (not a bad thing, given the fate of so many clubs who have dropped out of the Premier League) rather than looking for real progress.

Parish’s track record with managers is hit or miss, and with the ghost of Frank de Boer still hovering, the chairman must have been tempted to go with a safer pair of hands than Vieira. His calculated risk is now paying off.

The former Arsenal midfielder is one of the Premier League’s most famous players, but he’s also only the 10th black manager in the top flight, so his success is also a welcome boost for a sport that needs to do better to provide opportunities for black people. coaches.

International recognition testifies to the transformative work carried out by Patrick Vieira at Selhurst Park

/ Action images via Reuters

Palace’s progress supports Parish’s belief that he is the best man to lead the club, having retained control after the American investment. He also built a new academy and fostered a sense of togetherness within the club, including bringing back a number of former players, including Dougie Freedman.

The day after West Ham’s unforgettable Europa League win over Sevilla last week, Hammers boss David Moyes called on the club to make the London stadium as flourishing as Selhurst Park.

It was unusual for a manager to call on his club’s supporters to emulate a local rival, especially a club like Palace, who have traditionally not been held up as an example to follow. Obviously that is changing – and there are now plenty of reasons other clubs want to follow Palace, on and off the pitch.

Farewell Jiggo… one of our best

Our industry lost one of its best last week with the death of Sun football reporter Paul Jiggins.

Covering the game can be a strange affair. Everyone is a colleague and everyone is a rival, and the environment brings out different sides of people. Jiggo sincerely wanted everyone to succeed, even though he greeted young reporters with a joke that the job was already too competitive.

He always had time, advice and a gag for colleagues at all levels and, in an industry where you tend to do both, he never overstated his own importance or got too carried away. seriously.

He was always ready with a quip or an anecdote, and his amazing skill at devising puns was best reflected in his intros, which were the stuff of legend. I remember sitting next to Jiggo at Olympiacos as Tottenham squandered a 2-0 lead to draw, and being constantly nudged as he offered pun after pun words.

His two great loves were his family and Millwall, and many of his best stories were about the Lions. Come to think of it, it’s probably best not to relay any of them here.

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