World Cup heartache can fire up Crystal Palace duo on return to club football


Crystal Palace goalkeeper Jack Butland believes the World Cup experience for two of his team-mates will help push the club forward when the Premier League restarts on Boxing Day.

Joachim Andersen and Jordan Ayew saw their Denmark and Ghana teams knocked out at the group stage in Qatar but Butland, who was part of the England squad who finished fourth at the 2018 World Cup, is looking forward to seeing the reaction of the pair once they return to South London.

“It’s not the tournament they hoped that they were going to have as a team, but we’ve got to get them back now,” said Butland about the experience for Ayew and Andersen in Doha.

“It’s the ultimate. As far as football goes – Champions League, World Cup, Euros. It’s where the best are playing, but they’ll be full of fire, ready to go and trying to put that behind them now.

“They’ll come back after a little bit of a break, refreshed and hopefully turn it on for us in the second half of the season.”

Andersen and Ayew did not travel with Patrick Vieira’s squad for their winter training camp in Turkey which will also see the Eagles play Trabzonspor and Napoli this week.

The squad who did travel to Turkey were given two weeks off following the last match of the Premier League before the break – away at Nottingham Forest on November 12 – before returning to training last week.

And after a break and family time, Butland believes it can only benefit the squad as they return to action against Fulham on December 26.

“It has been nice. The gaffer gave us a bit of time off so everyone has had a bit of winter sun which is unusual,” said Butland about the pause.

“These seasons can be long so to have that break is a good thing. We’re now back in with four weeks straight building up to the Fulham game so we’ll be right back up to speed again.

“You look at [Manchester] City and Arsenal and clubs like that who have 50 or 60 per cent or more of the starting line-up away at the World Cup and who may not be back until a week before the season starts again. It is going to be a long season for them. It is only a benefit if you use it to your advantage and get people fit and get people ready.

“We’ve had the large part of our squad here, so that can only be a good thing for us.”