If there are two players in the squad who know the club inside out, it’s Joel Ward and James McArthur, with the long-serving pair having amassed 499 Crystal Palace appearances between them.
Including caretakers, they’ve experienced 12 and seven different Palace managers respectively. For two such experienced players, the arrival of a new boss is nothing new, then, but each highlight the tweaks implemented in Patrick Vieira’s first weeks.
“I think it brings about change,” Ward tells Palace TV. “I think change is good at times and I think there’s a different way of thinking. It also gives players that maybe have not had a great run a chance to impress again and obviously wipe the slate clean. Even for young lads coming through, it gives them a chance to express themselves and put themselves on the radar.”
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“It’s exciting,” McArthur says. “New manager, new way of playing. Under Roy [Hodgson], the manager was brilliant – I loved playing under him. Now we get a new style, a new way of playing, a new way of working. Being older, more experienced, it’s still exciting. New change, new ways of playing. I’m looking forward to it.”
McArthur explained in more detail the specific approach Vieira has brought with him: “It’s probably a bit more demanding, but hopefully we can reap the rewards later on in the season when we’re flying with fitness.
“I think he’s very adaptable rather than set in his formation, which is good because in the Premier League you need a couple of ways to play, a couple of different formations. Hopefully we’ll understand that well, the way he wants to play and hopefully we can carry that into each Saturday and do well.
“He knows the game inside out. He’s been so, so successful. But if you think about someone who’s had that experience and how much he’s won, he doesn’t come across like that. He comes across so relaxed and approachable. He wants good relationships with players. If you went up to him and said something, it’s not a case of: ‘No, you shouldn’t say that.’
“He’s very receptive of what we think, of what you’re thinking, what training is like and what you think of this. I think that’s important… It’s not a case of trying harder, but if you’ve got a good relationship with your players then through the good times, the bad times, everything’s going to be that wee tiny bit better.”
Having been here since the 2012/13 promotion season, Ward is able to comment on all aspects of the club. He reflects on approaching a decade in south London, and says of Palace today: “There are certain things that have remained the same and that’s what keeps the club the club. But in a lot of areas there has been huge amounts of change.
“I think we’re at a pivotal stage now where things are progressing with the Academy and everything like that, so things are moving in the right direction and hopefully we can make sure we continue to progress in the right way.”