February 24, 2024

Joel Ward told Premier League Productions of the ‘frightening’ attacking talents he hopes will inspire Crystal Palace in the second half of the season.

With the Eagles undergoing a challenging run of form, their captain – a pundit on PLP’s The Final Word show this week – spoke of the qualities of Ebere Eze, Michael Olise and the squad as a whole.

Discussing Eze and Olise – unfortunately injured for much of the season so far – Ward said: “I’d much prefer to play with them than against them, put it that way!

“Individually, they’re special talents. Collectively, when they start linking up and playing with each other then it’s another ball game. We certainly saw that at the back end of last season when they got a run of games together. They’re a frightening talent.

“If you can get your best players on the pitch for a long period of time, the talent of those two speaks for itself. I know they’re itching to go.

“Michael wants to get back [from injury], he wants to make that change [to results]. He will ignite the place. He sets it alight.

“If we can get those two on the pitch, as well as the other lads that we have throughout the squad, we’ve got more than enough to frighten teams going forward.”

Expanding further on Eze and Olise’s attacking quality and potential, Ward added: “Ebs makes it effortless and just glides on the pitch.

“Michael adds a different element to it too. He has that killer instinct, he has that arrogance – in the right way – to go about the game. For such a young talent, he’s got a very wise head on him.

“He’s very tactically astute, he wants to learn, he wants to develop and you can see that he’s got that desire to go and make things happen. When you need him to grab a game by the scruff of the neck, he does that, and he takes it upon himself to go and be the difference.”

 

As for himself, Ward made his 292nd appearance in the Premier League for Palace last month when he lined up to face Bournemouth, eclipsing the club’s previous record of 291 set by Wilfried Zaha.

With 351 games for the club in all competitions under his belt, Ward – currently out with an injury sustained against Manchester City last month – hopes to continue to lend his talent and experience to the red and blue cause.

The captain said: “I’m the type of character where I keep my head down and go about my business. Maybe in years to come I’ll look at numbers a little bit closer.

“I’m just thankful and count my blessings that I’ve been able to play for this period of time at a club like Palace in the Premier League.”

 

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