Crystal PalaceSport

More game time for Michael Olise? Patrick Vieira says that it’s down to Palace player to cement his spot

Patrick Vieira has challenged Michael Olise to take his chance in the Crystal Palace side, with Jordan Ayew and Wilfried Zaha set to depart for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Olise replaced Luka Milivojevic in the 68th minute of Saturday’s 3-2 defeat to West Ham.

The former Reading attacker managed to assist Odsonne Edouard for Palace’s first and scored the second with a free-kick that deceived everyone inside the area.

Olise has only started twice in the Premier League under Vieira since completing his £8million switch from Reading in the summer.

The 20-year-old has been directly involved in five top-flight goals this season as a substitute – the most of any player in the league.

When asked if Ayew and Zaha’s departure will afford Olise more game time during the second half of the season, Vieira said: “It is up to him. He will have the space with Jordan and Wilfried going on international duty, and it’s up to him to show how good he is and to take his chances.

“The plan is to work with him and make him progress, but today he showed all of his talent.

“The plan is for him to play more games in the second half of the season, but the number of games that he will play is up to him and what he shows in training.”

Greenwich-born Eberechi Eze was named on the bench for the seventh time since returning from a serious Achilles injury that he suffered towards the end of last season.

The 23-year-old failed to get on to the pitch during Saturday’s loss and has only played 32 minutes of Premier League football since returning to first-team action.

“It was a bad injury, but he is feeling good,” said Vieira. “We knew that it would take time for him to get to his best, and we are working and progressing him to take him to the level that we know he can be.

“We all have to be patient with him, but at the same time, he needs training and to play games.

“He is another player who I hope will be good to play some more games in the second half of the season.”


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