Having been around the Crystal Palace dressing room for years, the exit of Wayne Hennessey will be an odd one. The 34-year-old has been a big part of the Wales and Palace team for a long time; a reliable presence who could be called upon whenever needed. However, a single first-team appearance in the 2020-21 season meant that many expected the news that is now set to be confirmed – Hennessey will not be returning to Selhurst Park for the 2021-22 season.
His place in the team was eventually taken by Spanish keeper Vicente, with Jack Butland serving as his typical deputy. The third-choice keeper is expected to be a younger player, with Palace looking to freshen up the squad and move on from a more veteran core of players. This summer looks to be one of major change for the club, with chairman Steve Parrish expected to be extremely busy as he re-jigs the squad in a whole new look. Unless something major changes, Hennessey is going to moving on along with a large contingent of plyers.
Palace are set to take a bigger risk this summer, with the end of the Roy Hodgson era set to bring an intriguing number of changes. Expect some pretty big adjustments to take place in the weeks, months, and years to come; this feels like a point of no return. Hodgson will leave, as will a large collection of the veteran talent who make up the Palace team. This will leave the club looking at a major rebuild – and this will even go as far as now having to replace a goalkeeper who has dropped to third choice in the standings.
Over his time with Palace, Hennessey was able to take part in 132 games.
Will Wayne Hennessey be missed at Crystal Palace?
Without doubt. Believed to be an important part of the dressing room, Hennessey was a well-liked figure by both players and fans. The long-serving goalkeeper will now move on. Some fans, though, might be happy that a keeper who kept just 37 clean sheets in 132 games will no longer be part of the team. Some see Hennessey as the ideal second-tier player, perhaps not good enough for the top-flight consistently.
He has, though, been a regular performer for Palace in the Premier League and has played a stabilising role in the team. With such few opportunities to actually play, though, it’s easy to see why things move come to an end. For many fans, though, this feels like another example of how this is an end of an era – and how the 2021-22 Palace squad is likely to look transformative in comparison to the gradual adjustment of the Hodgson era.
Though some will be sad to see the veteran depart, it is the right thing to do for all parties. Now, some changes will be expected – could a new first-choice arrive? Or will it be a more low-profile hire to fill the third-choice spot?