Crystal Palace full-back Nathan Ferguson has vowed to come back stronger from the knee injury which has ruined his start to life at Selhurst Park.

The defender joined the Premier League club in the summer on a free transfer after he turned down a new contract with West Brom.

Ferguson had been set to join Palace in January, but an issue with his medical saw the move collapse before the 20-year-old did finally sign for the Eagles in July.

A knee issue has restricted the England youth player to only one appearance this year and boss Roy Hodgson recently admitted the club’s medical staff are being cautious with the right-back after he suffered one setback already.

But Ferguson, speaking at a Palace for Life Foundation event, said: “Short term, I want to get myself out of this injury and back to where I was or even better.

“Hopefully I can then implement myself into the team and help to develop other players while I’m also working hard myself.

“This is my first setback, I’ll come back and this will make me stronger through the rest of my career.”

During his time away from rehabilitation, the ex-Baggies player offered his support to the Palace for Life Foundation this week.

He spoke to a small group of children at Bandon Hill Meadow Field Primary School in Carshalton over a video call as part of the Team Mates programme.

The sessions are put on to encourage pupils to speak openly about how they are feeling and use positive psychology to help them become more resilient and improve their social skills.

“Communication is so important, it’s good to teach it from a young age so that they learn that it’s OK to talk about your feelings,” Ferguson added.

“Even if I can inspire just one kid, that’s good enough for me, hopefully I can encourage them to step out of their comfort zone and go on to do what they want to do when they’re older.”

Palace’s number 36 is one of several unavailable to manager Hodgson, but it failed to prevent the south Londoners beating Leeds 4-1 in the final match before the international break.

Captain Luka Milivojevic missed that fixture due to suspension and while he has two more matches of his ban to serve, the midfielder has now tested positive for coronavirus.

A statement from the Serbian FA read: “After regular testing performed on Monday after the arrival of the national team members of Serbia in Stara Pazova, it was determined that the captain of Crystal Palace, Luka Milivojevic, was positive for the Covid-19 virus.”

The 29-year-old, who was tested again on Tuesday and recorded another positive result, will self isolate in his home country before he is able to return to England.

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