Patrick Vieira: New academy is a ‘must-have’ for Crystal Palace

Patrick Vieira has described Crystal Palace’s new academy training complex as a “must-have” in the Premier League.

The Category 1 site will be officially opened on Thursday by England manager and former Eagles academy graduate Gareth Southgate.

The £20million investment, built just over the road from the first-team training ground, includes five grass training pitches, a full-size outdoor 3G pitch, a show pitch, a full-size covered indoor training pitch and a gym.

The Eagles have also added offices, analysis rooms, a lecture room, meeting rooms, classrooms, a restaurant and a kitchen. A state of the art medical rehab and extended gym therapy area are currently underway and will form the final phase.

“The academy is part of the DNA of this football club – you just have to look at all the players who came through the academy. This is something really important for us,” said Vieira.

“Obviously, this is part of my job as well – to get involved with knowing the players and giving players the opportunity to train or to play with the first team.

“We have Shaun Derry in my staff, who came from the academy and played for the football club, so there is a link between the academy and the first team. That is really important for the football club because when you’re looking at the new building and the training facilities, that will put more pressure on ourselves to produce players.

“But as a football club, to have places like that to develop young players is a must-have in the Premier League or in football in general. We have the tools to develop those players, and now we have to be really demanding of the manager in the academy and of the players to produce more talent.”



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