An impressive Premier League season on loan at Crystal Palace has put Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher into the spotlight. Nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year, alongside Reece James, the 22-year-old was instrumental to Crystal Palace’s somewhat impressive campaign under manager Patrick Vieira, both as an attacking threat and a hard-working defensive presence in the middle of the pitch.
But early success does not mean a finished product. Gallagher is well aware of that as well, and is looking to improve.
“I know what I’m good at and what I need to improve on so I’ll be focused on that.
“I feel like runs into the box I’m good at and I can win the ball back well and press well. I like to score goals and I want to score more.
“I can be more aware on the ball in deeper areas and have a better vision sometimes. There’s loads of things and I could go on for ages but I’m very determined to work hard and improve as a footballer still.”
Gallagher made his England debut earlier this season, and has received a call-up for their upcoming UEFA Nations League matches against Hungary, Germany and Italy. Reece James and Mason Mount are also part of the mix, but they are just three of seven in the squad with ties to Cobham: Palace teammate Marc Guéhi, AC Milan’s Fikayo Tomori, and AS Roma’s Tammy Abraham are all Academy graduates, while West Ham’s Declan Rice spent his early formative years here as well.
Having 28% representation in the England squad is no small feat, and credit should go to the amazing job done by Neil Bath, Jim Fraser and Co. in selecting and nurturing Chelsea talent over the years.
“I heard that stat and I think it’s a lot of credit to how the Academy is run by the coaches, [head of youth development] Neil Bath and [assistant] Jim Fraser and their philosophies. The players that they’ve produced is amazing.
“One of the guys at Palace said to me that every player he’s ever met who’s come through Chelsea is always very humble and hard-working, and that’s credit to Chelsea.”
Gallagher has attracted the attentions of many clubs keen on having his talents next season. But as Palace chairman Steve Parish has hinted at as well, most signs, including a recent Instagram post talking about his time with the Eagles, point towards the young midfielder not being back at Selhurst Park next season — and hopefully being in the Chelsea first-team!
However Gallagher cannot give the game away that early; the summer has just begun!
“I don’t know why you look too much into the words because my English ain’t great!
“It’s been incredible for me at Palace this season and I’ve loved every minute of it. The fans, players, staff and Patrick have just been amazing with me and I just have to thank them all.
“It’s been unreal but the season has just finished and I’ve come straight here with England so I know it’s boring but I’ve not thought about it. I’m just focused on the four games here with England.”
-Conor Gallagher; source: Chelsea FC
Time for some mystery then!