Freddie Ladapo’s name has been on the lips of every Palace fan since his impressive display against AFC Wimbledon last week and now he’s spoken exclusively to the Croydon Advertiser about the emotion attached to grabbing his first goal in red and blue.
After signing for the club from Margate towards the end of last season, the 23-year-old Romford native was understandably desperate to grasp the chance he’d been offered by Alan Pardew with both hands and has since inpressed our coaching staff with both his eye for goal and general willingness to graft for every inch that is given to him behind the scenes.
Having been a part of the first-team’s North American tour at the start of the current pre-season campaign, Freddie got a genuine feel for what life is like amongst top flight professionals and is obviously keen to do everything in his power to ensure that he forces his way into Alan Pardew’s thoughts with the new Premier League season now just around the corner.
With the news of Fraizer Campbell’s recent injury and Palace’s struggles to push a deal for a new frontman over the mythical “transfer line” first referenced by Iain Dowie was back in 2004, former non-league hitman Ladapo could well be forced into the spotlight of Premier League competition far sooner than he or Alan Pardew and his staff will have anticipated if circumstances don’t change in rapid fashion.
Whilst it would be incredibly foolish to use a pre-season fixture against third tier opposition as a litmus test for a striker’s true quality, few who watched Freddie at Kingsmeadow last Wednesday would deny that there wasn’t a huge level of potential upon which he could feasibly build in the months to come, regardless of where he manages to get a run of regular games.
Unlike so many of the polished youngsters who work their way through professional academy systems, there is a raw power and desire within Ladapo’s technical make-up with makes him an extremely interesting prospect for everyone of a red and blue persuasion. Thankfully, the above interview does nothing to dampen the sense of anticipation that is currently building around him.
Have we unearthed the next Jamie Vardy? Only time will tell.