Missing Crystal Palace stars for preseason tour ‘not ideal’, says Patrick Vieira

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Not ideal: Patrick Vieira admits Crystal Palace’s preseason tour problems are unwelcome heading into the Premier League season  (AFP via Getty Images)
Not ideal: Patrick Vieira admits Crystal Palace’s preseason tour problems are unwelcome heading into the Premier League season (AFP via Getty Images)

Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira admits it is “not ideal” to be preparing for the new Premier League season with his first-team squad currently split in half.

Vieira is in Australia leading Palace on their preseason tour but the party includes just ten senior players, supplemented by a host of the club’s academy talent.

The rest of the Eagles’ first team, including key men such as Michael Olise, Eberechi Eze, Marc Guehi and Wilfried Zaha, remain in south London, with the club explaining the absences by saying some players were unfit and others “did not meet the entry requirements for Singapore or Australia when travel arrangements were made”.

“I think it’s not the ideal situation for a manager, of course, to have so many players behind,” Vieira said. “But on the other side, we are really pleased as a football club and myself as a manager to be part of that tournament.

“We went to Singapore, we are in Australia today and we look at our squad, we have so many young talents in our football and to have this kind of experience for them I think it’s something unbelievable for them.

“We had some of the young players who never went outside of Europe.

“Today we are in Australia and we going to play [Manchester] United in front of 75,000, 80,000 people and that is an excitement for them.”

Palace began their tour in Singapore, where vaccination against Covid is mandatory for foreign travellers, before heading to Australia, where entry requirements have only recently been dropped.

Palace have not confirmed which players have been prevented from travelling by their Covid vaccination status but several Premier League clubs have faced similar problems, with Chelsea travelling to the US without N’Golo Kante and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

“I think it’s important to understand that there are players who are staying behind for a different reason,” Vieira added.

“Of course we are not going to talk about the private situation of players, if they are vaccinated or not.

“But there are players who stayed behind because they needed to have more training, some of them needed to play more games, more minutes.

“We just try to look at the situation and make the best decision possible for us to be competitive in the first game of the season.”

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