No stopping Issott's kids at Palace

Croydon Guardian: Latest star: Wilfried Zaha Latest star: Wilfried Zaha

by Andrew McSteen and Graham Moody

Crystal Palace's new Premier League status will not stop young talent from breaking into the first team, according to academy manager Gary Issott.

Issott has overseen the emergence of established Premier League stars Wayne Routledge, Ben Watson, Victor Moses and Nathaniel Clyne from the academy in recent years, with Wilfried Zaha his latest protege to have flown the nest and signed for Manchester United after winning the Eagles promotion.

The pressures to stay in England's top tier however often sees young English footballer's crowded out of first team action, but Issott does not expect that to happen at Palace.

"The recruiting ethos and the culture has always been that if you come to Palace you will get a chance," he said.

"I am sure that is going to continue in the Premier League because we did when we got there last time with Routledge, with Watson and with Tom Soares.

"Recruitment-wise, being in the Premier League does help you but the club has such a history of producing young players and we will continue that in the Premier League.

"For the Academy, promotion doesn’t affect us too much apart from the fact we are thinking of going for Category One and the board need to make a decision in September, and I am sure being in the Premier League will help.

"I remember where we were three years ago, having just 10 players for pre-season and now where we are is phenomenal.

"It is fantastic for the club to be up there and hopefully now this can make a real improvement to the infrastructure of the club, not just the players, but the stadium, the training ground – all those things.

"These are great days – we’ve had some dark days in the past couple of years – these are great, great days."

Zaha's £15 move to the English champions makes him Palace's record player sale and Issott is looking forward to seeing him strut his stuff at the top end of European Football.

"I spoke to Wilfried before the play-off final to say goodbye," he added.

"He has gone out on such a massive high – the two goals at Brighton and causing the penalty at Wembley.It’s a massive deal for the club and for him that he’s gone to Manchester United.

"When you watch our lads who have gone on, you want to see them do themselves justice and they’ve all been hugely successful.

"Wherever you start your career you always have a soft spot and that club is in your blood as you’ve spent so long there.

"Those players will always look back with fondness at Palace and realise it was the club that gave them the opportunity."

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