I am so happy to be seeing Jason Puncheon playing at the top of his game, captaining Crystal Palace but more so for me – showing his full potential and for me he is good enough to be playing for England.
And I do have a real tie to the Puncheon story, I was working with my close friend and agent Tony Finnigan – who looked after Jason earlier in his career, going back nearly 15 years now.
Football INDEX Talk – Jason Puncheon is currently in he squad list down in the 400s, but if he gets an England call he will surely be worth a vote? Log-in to cast your vote for him…
Jason was in the Milton Keynes Dons reserves and I sat and watched him play against Brentford reserves at Griffon Park, he was very good as we know he can be – but there was something missing.
He was very difficult but I gave him strong advice after the game, I remember it well, and I would hope he would look on that day and think that was one of those moments that somebody really believed in me and tried to get me on track.
For any player you just need to get your attitude right and things will come for you – he had this tag of being a troublemaker, but he just had to channel and start playing well.
You have to do it on the pitch, he went out to other clubs on loan – Plymouth etc and then even went into non-league with Barnet and but then the penny dropped, he concentrated more and I honestly believe he is good enough he could play internationally.
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) April 6, 2017
He can play in a number of positions now, he has matured as a person, but his footballing brain has matured too – just look now, who would have thought he would have the captain’s armband for any club, let alone a Premier League one.
Everything has go better from his football to the way he is living his life, and thank God he has not wasted his talent – so many say I could have done this and that, and if I saw him tomorrow I would love the chance to say to him remind him of that day at Griffin Park when we spoke.
Another player who is hitting the headlines at my former club is Wilfried Zaha – who is being linked with some big money moves.
People keep asking me about Zaha and how Gareth Southgate has got it wrong that he did not chase him hard to reject Ivory Coast for England– but I am the first to say this is nonsense.
Did England and Gareth miss a trick, no – five months ago nobody would have put him anywhere near the England team but all of a sudden the kid is pulling up trees, and now people are saying Gareth has made a wrong decision – but that is wrong, if he didn’t fancy him then, that would not suddenly change now.
And on Zaha’s future, again people say to be that he has to say but it is never a necessity to keep any player – they sold him three years ago to Manchester United, now three years later and the kid is on fire again and we are seeing these big links.
Being realistic – if you have a team who is winning the title coming in for you, again you have to look at it.