After just over a year of rehabilitation, Pape Souare made a triumphant return to the Crystal Palace first-team last night and as you would expect both the club’s fans and players were quick to shower the defender with love on social media.
Having suffered a brutal car crash on the M4 motorway roughly 12 months ago, Pape was rushed to hospital for a full body scan. The results showed that he had broken both his thighbone and his jaw, leading plenty of medical experts to raise questions over whether he would ever play football professionally again.
Given the infrequency with which footballers are forced to come back from an injury such as Pape’s, his rehabilitation was taken incredibly slowly by the club’s medical staff but as he proved yesterday evening under the floodlights at Selhurst Park, a year of extremely hard work is now paying off in a big way. Taking on the advice and well wishes of thousands with his trademark smile, Pape has handled himself with pure class throughout this process and clearly, his teammates were over the moon to have him back in the side last night.
Of course, the landscape has shifted hugely at Palace since Souare was last fully fit. Indeed, we’ve had three managers since the last one he played under (Alan Pardew) was in the dugout and we now have two new left-backs on the books in the shape of Jeffrey Schlupp and Patrick van Aanholt but given the willpower Pape has demonstrated in regaining full fitness over the last few months, I wouldn’t write off his chances of regaining his starting spot at some point in the future.
After a start to the season in which it’s felt extremely difficult to find reasons to be cheerful, the combination of Pape’s return, Sakho’s permanent Palace debut, Speroni captaining the side and a victory on home soil all lead me to hope that our season can be kickstarted into action from this point forward.
It’ll be a long, hard road for Roy Hodgson and his players if they are to avoid the drop but if they’re ever in need of inspiration, they’ll only have to look across the dressing room at their teammate. His story is the very definition of triumph in the face of adversity.
— Wilfried Zaha (@wilfriedzaha) September 19, 2017
— Jason Lokilo (@jasonlokilo) September 19, 2017
— Andros Townsend (@andros_townsend) September 19, 2017