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‘Testament to his character’ – Nathan Ferguson earns praise from Crystal Palace stalwart

Crystal Palace defender Joel Ward has praised Nathan Ferguson’s work ethic after the 21-year-old right-back made his debut for the club following 17 injury-stricken months at Selhurst Park.

Ward, who joined from Portsmouth in 2012, is closing in on a decade of service for the South Londoners after he signed a new two-year deal in the summer to extend his stay with the club.

After signing a pre-contract agreement from West Brom in July 2020, Ferguson finally played his first minutes for Palace in the 3-0 defeat by Spurs on Boxing Day.

Ferguson replaced Tyrick Mitchell in the 82nd minute at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

“You have to appreciate it. It’s a testament to his character and the way in which he has picked himself up after each setback,” said Ward when asked about Ferguson’s mental strength after spending nearly a year and a half sidelined while waiting for his first appearance in a Crystal Palace shirt.

“They are only setbacks, and they are only speed bumps, and unfortunately in life, we come across those.

“As a man, he has taken them on his shoulders to make sure that he has put himself in the right position and have the right people around him.

“His work ethic to make sure that he is right, ready to go, and to come back, is spot on. We all want to see him be back out on the pitch and doing what he does.”

Ferguson can operate at either full-back role but was brought into the club following Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s £50million departure to Manchester United, leaving a void for another right-back at the club.

“Competition is healthy, it’s important, and it only increases the level of performances and individual levels as well,” said Ward.


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