'Always finding the energy': Manager raves about 22-year-old Chelsea loanee who's getting better
Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira has raved about the quality of Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher.
Gallagher, 22, is continuing his development during a season-long loan with Premier League and London rivals Palace.
The box-to-box midfielder has seen his reputation soar after becoming a talisman in the Palace XI, along with making his senior England debut last November.
A frequent comparison is made between him and Chelsea legend Frank Lampard, who’s remembered from his playing career as an elite goalscoring midfielder.
Gallagher’s already chipped in with seven goals and five assists this season for Palace across all competitions, so it would be great for him to hit double digits in those departments.
His current manager Vieira has waxed lyrical about the 22-year-old by highlighting the fact he keeps getting better.
“His strengths are running behind and stretching opposition teams,” Vieira told Football London.
“And what is good for us always as a midfielder is having more players inside the box, and he is always finding the energy to get in a really dangerous area that allows us to have more bodies, and to take more chances as well. He is an important player.
“Outside of his energy it’s about this kind of responsibility that he has for the defensive transition.
“He is somebody who can win the ball, he is somebody who can press the opposition team and he’s been doing quite really well and he’s improving as a player.”
Gallagher must keep his focus up from now until the end of the season if he wants to have a chance of a Chelsea first-team breakthrough in the summer.
He’s come through the glittering Blues academy at Cobham and needs to keep doing the things that have got him here so far.
Owen Hargreaves recently said he’s been “amazing” this season.
Chelsea formation a big factor
For Gallagher, he’s superb playing in Palace’s midfield three as someone with a licence to get up and down the pitch.
Thomas Tuchel’s preferred shape at Chelsea has been playing with two central midfielders that sit in front of a back three, though.
It’s hard to picture where Gallagher could fit into this shape and replicate his Palace form.
Fortunately, Tuchel’s shown in the last couple of months a flexibility to mix up his formation, which includes the use of a 4-3-3 system.
It’ll be interesting to see how Chelsea’s boss looks to set up his midfield next year.