Loans in football are a great thing, but when a loan really works out it is often bittersweet. Crystal Palace fans felt this closely in the summer, when inspiring loan signing Conor Gallagher headed back to Chelsea. Fans were hopefully that the Blues would look beyond a domestic talent once again and sell Gallagher on. Instead, the player has been an important part of pre-season and has been around the Chelsea first-team squad. This has left Palace, who were hoping to buy or loan the player again, waiting all summer for an answer.
While reports are now appearing that Gallagher could be sold for a fee in excess of £30m, Palace are reportedly finished waiting. And while fans would expect that it would take a player of significant pedigree, and cost, to replace the England international it looks like a replacement could be found from within the club.
Palace fans are rightly proud of the excellent academy at the club which has helped to produce several top class talents in recent years. This season, a few names are expected to be around the first-team picture – and one who is almost certain to step up would be Killian Phillips.
At 20, some fans might worry that Phillips has missed his chance. It is rare for a player in their early 20s to suddenly grow from an afterthought to a first-team regular. Reports around the club, though, are glowing about the training performances and mentality of the youngster.
So much so that Palace have seemingly shelved any ideas of buying another midfielder, and instead will look to give Phillips a much-deserved chance at breaking into the first-team picture.
Successful midweek debut could lead to more chances
The midfielder made his debut for the club in the midweek win against Oxford United, coming into the team and impressing both coaching staff and his fellow players. Controlled and composed, Phillips played a big role in Palace easing through what could have been a banana skin of a cup tie.
Phillips only joined the club in January, signing from Irish club Drogheda United. He played ten times in the Premier League 2 reserve league, and looked decent as he scored once and set one goal up. However, the new campaign hs seen him score twice and set one up in just three games – prompting Vieira to give him a shot in the first team picture.
It looks like a decision that will pay off, as the player was very composed in the game at the Kassam Stadium. After the game, Vieira noted: “I have to say I’m really pleased and think Kaden and Killian did really well.”
It is an impressive opportunity for both Phillips and debutant partner Kaden Rodney to make a mark on the team. Palace have never been afraid to give a youth player a chance, and it looks like that trend is going to continue while Vieira is the coach.
After much worry about how the club could replace Gallagher, it looks like the solution might already have been at the club.