Wayne Hennessey has started the 2017/18 Premier League season as Crystal Palace’s first-choice goalkeeper and last night out in Moldova, he produced a superb display for Wales as they battled their way to a 2-0 win which kept their hopes of World Cup qualification alive.
"Woodburn and Hennessey the heroes."
The next two games are "even bigger" than the last two – Hartson pic.twitter.com/eAbXbhhYdd
— BBC 5 live Sport (@5liveSport) September 5, 2017
The departure of Steve Mandanda at the start of the summer prompted most if not all Palace fans to assume that the club would make the task of finding a long-term replacement for him one of their immediate priorities but having started the new campaign with Hennessey still in between the sticks, that theory has been blown clean out of the water.
Questions are rightly still being asked as to whether Wayne is a man who is capable of functioning fully in a side which places such huge reliance on the keeper being an adept passer but if his performances for Wales over the last week are anything to go by, he should return to SE25 absolutely brimming with confidence.
There were plenty of goalkeepers linked with moves to the club in the run-up to the transfer window closing, with Barcelona’s Jasper Cillessan and PSV’s Jeroen Zoet two of the most high-profile targets mentioned but nothing concrete ever emerged from the speculation, leaving us with just Hennessey and Speroni to fill the goal for the time being.
The surprising departure of third-choice stopper Kleton Perntreou in the hours immediately following the deadline does of course free up space for another keeper to take his place but after a late bid for Everton striker Oumar Niasse hit the skids, my money would be on the club using the released man’s spot to bring in a back-up striker for Christian Benteke.
Will we see an improved version of Hennessey returning to us from international duty? I certainly hope so. Confidence can work wonders for a goalkeeper’s game and if two international clean sheets don’t put a spring in Wayne’s step, I’m not sure what will.
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