Scott Dann is undoubtedly looked upon as one of the leaders within the Crystal Palace dressing room by our fan-base, but in a recent interview with the Croydon Advertiser, the centre-back has gone out of his way to shower James McArthur with praise.
Following a dismal run of form since Christmas, questions have rightly been asked over the reasons for our struggles, but Dann has been quick to suggest that the loss of McArthur through injury had a bigger impact on the morale of the squad than anything else during the three-month period.
With the Scotsman potentially ready to play some part in our game against Manchester United in midweek ahead of a full comeback when we face Watford at Wembley next weekend, Dann has not held back when filling the Advertiser in on the huge difference McArthur makes to the group when he’s fit and playing each week.
Whilst you would always expect teammates to speak kindly of one another in the local press, the happiness expressed by Dann when discussing Jimmy’s imminent return to the starting XI is a telling consequence of the work-rate and will to win that the former Wigan man exudes whenever he crosses the white line.
Far from your standard soundbite, Dann’s opinions on McArthur’s importance to us as a club shine a light on what is likely to have been a key contributing factor in our struggle for form since the festive period. Whilst the likes of Zaha, Bolasie and Puncheon offer an element of flair, it is through the engine of McArthur that Dann evidently feels we have been able to dictate the pace of play.
Were you to ask any Palace supporter for their views on Jimmy, you’d get an almost universally positive response, but when hearing Scott Dann speak with such admiration for his terrier-like teammate, you are left in no doubt whatsoever about the importance role he plays in ensuring we as a collective unit can be successful from week to week.