Conor Gallagher admitted the prospect of learning from Patrick Vieira had convinced him to join Crystal Palace ahead of Leeds this season.

The Chelsea player made his Eagles debut in Saturday’s stalemate with Brentford after being ineligible for his new side’s Premier League opener against his parent club last weekend.

Gallagher impressed in the 0-0 draw and believes working with one of the division’s all-time best midfielders will be positive during his one-season loan at Selhurst Park.

When asked why he chose Palace over Leeds, the 21-year-old explained: “I liked what manager Patrick Vieira was saying. I feel like it suited me very well and that 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 that I am. He knows I want to go up and down the field and play with freedom. It certainly helped persuade me.

“There were a lot of tactical sessions – at the team level. I haven’t been here too long, but I have the whole season to learn from him.

“Obviously he was a top player at the time and he’s a better manager too, so I’m very happy to be working with him this season.”

The England Under-21 international was also set to join Palace last summer when he was under Roy Hodgson, but spent the campaign with West Brom where he gained attention despite relegation of the Baggies.

After scoring twice and recording two assists last season, Gallagher is eager to improve that tally under Vieira, who has won three Premier League titles in a distinguished playing career with Arsenal.

“I was buzzing. Obviously it didn’t really work out last season so I was very excited to join this one, ”he said.

“Now I hope 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 excited to start the season and help the team as much as possible. I hope I can build on that for the next performance.

“I will always do my best for the team. I feel like I have a lot of energy to give and I will always try to give 100%, but I also want to contribute goals and assists.

Gallagher’s debut coincided with Palace being able to accommodate fans at Selhurst Park without any restrictions as the stadium was full for the first time since before the coronavirus pandemic.

This made for a memorable afternoon with a banner unveiled in the Holmesdale stand that read ‘as the soul of the palace returns, the terraces come alive’ and a special atmosphere was created – also aided by the traveling support of the bees .

“It was unreal, the fans were kidding,” Gallagher admitted with Palace next to Watford in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday.

“I’m just excited to play even more here this season.”


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