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Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira not surprised at way defender has slotted into his team – South London News

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Nathaniel Clyne’s performances since coming into the Crystal Palace first team have not surprised Patrick Vieira.

The right-back has started the last five games in a row for the Eagles after he was needed to relace Joel Ward, who picked up a groin injury in training prior to the 1-0 loss at home to Chelsea.

The 30-year-old Clyne had only started one game in the Premier League – the 1-0 loss at Manchester United when Joel Ward was suspended – under Eagles boss Vieira before the start of February.

Clyne signed a new one-year extension in the summer and is out of contract again come the end of the campaign.

“No, I’m not impressed by his performance – he has been doing what I have seen every day in training,” said Vieira of Clyne’s performances.

“He has been a real professional, he has been working hard, and he is always looking to do extra when he wasn’t playing.

“Now, he has had the opportunity to step up and play, and he has done it fantastically well. I am really pleased and really happy with the performances that he has had.”

Ward returned to the matchday squad for the 0-0 draw at home to Premier League leaders Manchester City, but Clyne kept his place in the starting line-up.

When asked if the challenge was for Ward to try and win his place back in the side, Vieira said: “That is what I want, and that is what I am telling players every day – it’s about fighting for a spot.

“It’s the same up front, and it’s the same with Ebs [Eberechi Eze] coming back as well – we have players that can start every week.”

PICTURE: KEITH GILLARD

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