Yesterday saw Crystal Palace’s U23s extend their lead at the top of the table with a convincing 3-0 win over QPR courtesy of a mightily impressive hat-trick from James Daly.
The 18-year-old has been on the club’s books since U14 level, playing as a left winger, left full-back and striker but speaking after the game, the man himself admitted that he feels he’s best suited to leading the line, before going on to sing the praises of manager Richard Shaw for getting the best out of him.
With Christian Benteke going through a very public goal-drought, Connor Wickham and Bakary Sako sidelined through injury and new signing Alexander Sørloth still finding his feet in the Premier League, it’s perhaps no surprise to see fans calling for Daly’s inclusion in the match-day squad following a hat-trick at U23 level but I would suggest that a first-team call-up remains at least a couple of months away for the teenager as things stand.
Quite clearly, Daly has always had an eye for goal, scoring a fair few for the U18s last term before going on to captain the side in the early stages of the current campaign.
The last few weeks have seen him make the step up to the U23s, where he’s managed to bag a brace against Watford prior to yesterday’s treble against QPR. Whilst confidence always plays a massive part in any striker’s game, the fact that Daly has so seamlessly progressed through the age-bands bodes well for his future at the club, with Roy Hodgson and his coaching staff sure to be keeping a close eye on his development.
Fans will no doubt be pleased to learn that Daly once had a trial for Brighton & Hove Albion before being turned away, plotting him along the same path as a certain Ian Wright. Should he eventually make the step-up to the first-team and emulate Wright’s goalscoring record, he’ll quickly become a cult hero at Selhurst Park.
He’s definitely a name to keep a lookout for over the next few months.