Palace’s U23 side welcomed the likes of Gary Cahill, Victor Camarasa and James McCarthy to the starting XI for yesterday’s clash with Birmingham at Selhurst Park but it was academy star Gio McGregor who stole the show with a wonderfully taken goal to put the Eagles in front.
Having turned 20 in January of 2019, midfielder McGregor managed six goals in 24 appearances for the U23 side last term, underlining his threat in the final third of the field and if he manages to pull out one or two more strikes of the same quality as yesterday’s, he’ll have supporters imploring Roy Hodgson to give him a run out in the senior side.
On the club’s books since the summer of 2016 after leaving Brentford, Gio will no doubt be hoping that this is the campaign in which he can make the forward strikes necessary to catapult himself into the gaffer’s thoughts and given the fact that Roy Hodgson was in attendance to see him curl one into the top corner, he’s made the perfect start.
Known as something of a set-piece specialist, McGregor would become an overnight fan-favourite if he was to step up to the seniors and continue finding the back of the net but when speaking to Palace TV after the full-time whistle had sounded, Gio had no hesitation in admitting that his goal was the best he’d ever scored.
Whilst you never want to put unnecessary pressure on the shoulders of academy players, it’s always incredibly exciting to see youngsters making a name for themselves at youth level. The path towards the first-team isn’t too far removed from reality for 99% of our boys, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka having made the step up less than two years ago.
Let’s hope McGregor firing home from range becomes a recurring theme of the 2019/20 campaign.