Ahead of our return to Premier League action with the Crystal Palace vs Chelsea match this afternoon, Conor Gallagher and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have been discussing their time on loan in that part of the capital and how important it was in their development.
Graham Potter’s first league game in charge comes at Selhurst Park, a place where two of his midfielders spent time earlier in their careers. Gallagher was there under Patrick Vieira last term, making 39 appearances and scoring a dozen goals as he impressed to the extent of earning a maiden England call-up.
Meanwhile, Loftus-Cheek enjoyed a productive 2017/18 campaign in his native south London under Roy Hodgson, a man he has credited with playing a decisive role in his early years as a Premier League footballer.
‘It helped me massively,’ he said of his year with the Eagles. 'I was 20 at the time and I was seeking first-team football. Palace was a club who came up, Frank de Boer wanted to work with me and I wanted to work with him.
‘He had a good philosophy going into the season but we didn’t have the best start so then Roy came in and I really developed under Roy. I got so much first-team football. I felt like I matured as a player and I came back to play for Chelsea. It was a really impactful year for my football.’
Gallagher also credits his time at Palace as having shaped him both on and off the field.
‘It’s a brilliant stadium and the fans are class so I’m excited to go back,’ he said. ‘It’s going to be a really difficult game because Crystal Palace are always good at home. It’s going to be tough and we need to be ready.
‘Everyone could see how much I enjoyed my time there. I loved playing there and the fans took me in brilliantly so I am very thankful for it.
‘I developed a lot as a footballer and as a person as well so I only have good words to say about the club.’
The Eagles have won just one of their six Premier League games so far this season and currently sit 16th in the table but will offer plenty of resistance against a Chelsea side looking for their first points under the new manager.
‘I love going back to Selhurst Park and I have a connection with the fans still which is nice,’ added Loftus-Cheek. ‘The stadium is so loud and has so much energy, which is not going to be good for us going back there.
‘I have a lot of really nice memories like scoring there, my first and last goals, so I look back with happy memories of that place.’