Jason Lokilo may still be waiting to hit it big in the Crystal Palace first-team but no one could question the youngster’s drive to succeed following the U23’s 0-0 draw with Leeds at Selhurst Park yesterday afternoon.
The Eagles were arguably the better team in the opening 45 minutes but found it tough going against the Yorkshire outfit in the second period; a fact that both confused and frustrated the young Belgian.
To their credit, Richard Shaw’s players created plenty of goal scoring opportunities, with Nya Kirby having a penalty saved and Lokilo himself hitting the woodwork twice over the course of the 90 minutes but in the mind of the 20-year-old, he and his teammates failing to communicate properly played a big role in their failure to break down the visitors.
Speaking to Palace TV after the final whistle, he said:
“We have to talk and improve the talking between us and the coaches, they are good in the dressing room, they said ‘boys, keep talking to each other on the pitch. I don’t think it happened in the second half, but I am a bit disappointed, I thought we deserved to get three points.
I don’t know what happened in the second half, they [Leeds] came back on the pitch with hunger, and wanting to score.”
Part of me wonders if Lokilo is being too harsh on himself and his teammates following a game which could so easily have ended up in a victory with a little more luck but it’s worth highlighting that the sense of frustration he’s feeling is the sign of a winning mentality in someone who is still very young. You want to see young players annoyed at failing to get wins, of course the level of performance is also paramount but that nagging feeling of frustration will serve him well in years to come if it’s channeled correctly.
To their credit, the club are putting a lot of work in on the academy behind the scenes, with plans for another tilt at becoming a Category 1 Academy back on the agenda in the near future. Given the meteoric rise of Aaron Wan-Bissaka over the last 18 months, you can’t blame the coaches for wanting to keep momentum rolling and perhaps, with the rub of the green, Jason Lokilo can be the next name of everybody’s lips.