Conor Gallagher has admitted the prospect of learning from Patrick Vieira convinced him to join Crystal Palace ahead of Leeds this season.
The Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher made his Crystal Palace debut in Saturday’s stalemate with Brentford after he was ineligible to feature in his new team’s Premier League opener against his parent club last weekend.
The midfielder impressed during the 0-0 draw and believes working under one of the division’s all-time best midfielders will be a positive during his season-long loan at Selhurst Park.
Asked why he picked Palace over Leeds, the 21-year-old explained: “I liked what the manager Patrick Vieira was saying. I feel like it suited me very nicely and like I could express myself the best here.
“He wants me to do what I do best, which is basically all I want to hear. He knows the type of player I am. He knows that I want to get up and down the pitch and just play with freedom. That definitely helped persuade me.
“There has been a lot of tactical sessions – team-wise. I have not been here too long, but I have got the whole season to learn from him.
“Obviously he was a top player back in the day and he is a top manager as well, so I am very excited to work with him this season.”
The England Under-21 international was also close to joining Palace last summer when they were under the management of Roy Hodgson, but spent the campaign with West Brom where he caught the eye despite the Baggies ultimately getting relegated.
After scoring twice and registering two assists last season, Gallagher is eager to improve that tally under Vieira, who won three Premier League titles during a stellar playing career with Arsenal.
“I was buzzing. Obviously it didn’t quite work last season, so I was very excited to join for this one,” he said.
“Now I am hoping to help the team this season and show everyone what I can do.
“I couldn’t play last week against Chelsea so I was very eager to get going for the season and to help the team as much as I can. Hopefully I can build on that for the next performance.
“I’ll always work my hardest for the team. I feel like I have got a lot of energy to give and I will always try to give 100 per cent, but I want to contribute to goals and assists as well.”
Gallagher’s debut coincided with Palace being able to welcome fans back to Selhurst Park with no restrictions as the stadium sold-out for the first time since before the coronavirus pandemic.
It made for a memorable afternoon with a banner unveiled in the Holmesdale Stand which read ‘as the soul of Palace returns the terraces come alive’ and a special atmosphere was produced – helped by the Bees’ travelling support too.
“It was unreal, the fans were a joke,” Gallagher admitted with Palace next at Watford in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday.
“I am just excited to play here even more this season.”