Friday, February 3, 2023

Could This Spaniard Solve Crystal Palace’s Full-Back Problems Under Alan Pardew?

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Snehanjan Banerjee
Snehanjan used to a former columnist at The 4th Official. Fan of KK, Cricket and Liverpool (in no particular order).

After a season of complete disappointment for Crystal Palace, Alan Pardew will be looking to bring smiles to the faces of the fans. In his early days at Selhurst Park as the manager, Pardew looked like the real deal. Joining the club in January 2015, he led Palace to their first ever top-half finish. The last season started on a very good note but it lasted only until the New Year.

Crystal Palace have already strengthened their squad to an extent with three impressive signings in the form of Steve Mandanda, James Tomkins and Andros Townsend. However, the Eagles still need more quality and experience on their side to achieve a top-half finish next season. If reports from The Daily Star are to be believed, the Eagles are considering a free transfer for out of contract left-back Jose Enrique.

If you take a close look at the current Crystal Palace squad, you can easily point out their biggest weakness i.e. the left back position. It makes me wonder sometimes that how a player like Pape Souare can make the starting XI of a Premier League club week in week out. The 26-year-old is neither strong attacking wise and it would be the best to not even start talking about his defensive duty.

On the other hand, Zeki Fryers, despite being very highly-rated, failed to establish himself at the South London club. It is quite clear that Crystal Palace neither have depth nor quality in the left-back position. Jose Enrique, on a free transfer, can prove to be a massive addition from the Eagles.

Enrique is an experienced Premier League campaigner having notched 129 appearances for Newcastle before moving to Liverpool in 2011. The Spaniard featured in a Liverpool shirt for 99 times. So, what Crystal Palace will get with Enrique is vital Premier League experience.

The 6 feet tall left-back has a strong physique and a very good balance. Spanish players are probably born with impressive dribbling abilities and technique and Enrique is no exception to that. The Spaniard is a brilliant tackler of the ball and can be used as an emergency centre-back as well. The 30-year-old loves to burst forward hugging the touchline and can release deadly crosses for attackers.

However, one thing Crystal Palace needs to take care of is the Spaniard’s fitness. In his last three seasons at Anfield, Enrique just managed to get 21 appearances after a series of injuries. He is 30 now and does not have more than 2-3 years at the top level left in him. If injuries do not haunt him at Selhurst Park, Enrique can still play a major part for the Eagles going forward in the right direction.

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