Wayne Rooney has hinted at the benefits Conor Gallagher could bring to Chelsea next season after the midfielder’s excellent performance in Crystal Palace’s 3-0 victory against Arsenal on Monday night.
First-half goals from Jean-Phillipe Mateta and Jordan Ayew put the Eagles in firm control before a Wilfried Zaha penalty sealed the result as Mikel Arteta’s Champions League hopes took a significant blow. The Gunners simply could not cope with the energy and intensity of their hosts, frequently caught on the ball as Patrick Vieira’s side swarmed around them.
While Gallagher did not find the net himself on Monday night, his relentless display in midfield caught the eye of many. Currently on loan from Chelsea, fans are excited to see what he can do in a blue shirt going forward, if Thomas Tuchel opts to include him in his first-team squad from next season.
Speaking after the game, Palace boss Vieira praised the intensity his side showed. “It was a really good performance. From the first minute we wanted to put pressure on and not allow them to have the ball and we did it well,” he said.
“There is more belief in the team. Players understand better each other and start to really know each other. There is a clear idea about how we want to play the game. We scored in a really important time today and the way we managed the game shows we are going up as a team.”
In the Monday Night Football studio on Sky Sports, Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney was the guest alongside Jamie Carragher and he pointed out how Gallagher was able to drag the levels of his teammates up throughout the game.
“I thought they were excellent, especially with the intensity that they played with,” the Derby County manager said. “I thought (Conor) Gallagher and his intensity rubbed off on the other players and I thought the three-nil was deserved.”
If Tuchel is still undecided on whether or not Gallagher is ready for his first-team, he need look no further. Rooney has told him how the 22-year-old has the ability to improve the levels of everyone he is playing with. What manager does not want to see such an improvement, especially when it can be brought about without spending an extra penny?
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