Crystal Palace midfielder makes promise for subsequent season

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Will Hughes has promised Crystal Palace fans that there is “a lot more to come” from him after completing his first season with the club.

Hughes, 27, joined the Eagles in the summer from Watford after being sent to train with their U23 side following contract talks breaking down.

But Watford’s loss was Palace’s gain, and Vieira spent £6million to bring the Englishman to Selhurst Park.

While Hughes was a mainstay in the starting eleven around the winter months, he has had to compete for a place in the side alongside Cheikhou Kouyate, Luka Milivojevic, Jeffrey Schlupp and Conor Gallagher, so has found game time limited.

Despite only making 13 starts in the Premier League this season, Hughes says: “I have enjoyed it – it was one of the most enjoyable seasons that I’ve had in a long time. 

“It was difficult for me [at the start of the season] because I didn’t really have a pre-season – I was coming off cold and then in and out of the team. 

“But I’ve massively enjoyed the whole experience, and I’m going to kick on next season because there’s a lot more to come from me.

“At the start of the season, the lads were playing so well. The squad is really strong on the pitch, and everyone has played their part. 

“Everyone is pushing each other, and there’s healthy competition for places, so it’s all guns blazing for next season.”

Hughes played 83 minutes in Crystal Palace’s final game of the season, securing a 12th-placed finish in the Premier League following a 1-0 win against Manchester United.

Crystal Palace v Manchester United, Premier League, Selhurst Park, 22 May 2022
Picture : Keith Gillard

“The manager has drilled it into us all season – whether it’s the first game of the season, the middle of the season or the last game of the season where there’s not much to play for – we’ve got to do the same as we have done throughout the season. 

“You could see we put United on the back foot, and we deserved the win. Coming from Thursday night against Everton, it was good to get a reaction.”

Hughes has now called for action after the recent rise in pitch invasions in English football.

The Eagles were involved in a pitch invasion last Thursday when Everton fans flooded onto the turf at Goodison Park after they came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 and secure their Premier League status for next season.

Footage emerged after the game, showing Vieira kicking out at an Everton fan who provoked him as he made his way to the away team dressing room.

“Everyone can make their own mind up about what happened,” says Hughes.

“It’s difficult for stewards to stop it when there are thousands coming on, but with all of the incidents we’ve seen in the last couple of weeks, there needs to be a change. 

“We need to have a look at how we can deal with it because it’s not just a simple case of telling fans not to do it as they’re just going to keep doing it. They need to get around that and make it safe.”

PICTURES: KEITH GILLARD

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