BY SAM SMITH
Crystal Palace forward Connor Wickham admitted the last 18 months recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament injury have been the hardest of his life.
The striker had not featured for the Eagles since November 2016 before he appeared for the final 20 minutes in Saturday’s 4-0 victory against Reading.
The 25-year-old received a huge roar of approval upon his introduction from the away end at the Madejski Stadium.
Wickham told Palace TV: “It has been a long time coming. It’s been the hardest 16 to 18 months of my life in some respects, and especially my career. It was nice [the reaction from the crowd], I almost got a bit emotional!
“I’ve been wrapped up in cotton wall a little bit. I’ve had my fair share of fall-outs but that’s all in vain now, I can look back on it as one of the hardest times of my career and thankfully I’m back out on a pitch. That’s good for me and hopefully good for the boys as well.”
The former Sunderland man finds himself further down the striking pecking order with the January addition of Alexander Sorloth.
“I still need to get a few more minutes and games under my belt to show the manager what I’m capable of.
I’ve spoken to him a couple of times but I don’t need to go in demanding that I need to play every, I’ve just got to prove what I can do and that’s down to me.
“It [the injury] is something that I can learn from. I’ve missed being out on the pitch so much, I didn’t realise how much it would mean to myself until I actually got back out there.”
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