Crystal Palace defender Marc Guehi has admitted that he could not turn down Patrick Vieira in the summer once the three-time Premier League winner made his intentions of bringing him to Selhurst Park clear.
The 21-year-old has only missed one game this season for the Eagles in the Premier League since moving from Chelsea in the summer in a deal worth in the region of £18million.
Guehi was called up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad for their recent International friendlies against Switzerland and Ivory Coast. He played the full 90 minutes in the 2-1 win against the Swiss.
Palace face their west London rivals, Chelsea, in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Sunday.
“Massive,” said Guehi of Vieira’s influence in convincing him to sign.
“He’s one of the best players to play in his position – he’s won the World Cup. When someone such as that comes knocking at your door, you can’t really say no.
“I am just grateful for all the help that he has given me this season.”
Speaking on the decision to move away from Stamford Bridge in the summer, Guehi said: “Coming off the back of playing in the Championship [on loan with Swansea] on a regular basis, for any young player, it is really important to get game time and to want to play.
“For me, that was all that mattered at the time. The decision to leave Chelsea and come to Palace was the right one in order to get that game time and show what I could do.
“Coming here didn’t mean that it was going to be a given – I still had to prove myself and still had to train hard and work hard.
“But it was definitely the club that I thought would give me the platform to do so.”
When asked about the influence five-time Vieira has had on his career during this season, Guehi added: “I would say that he has got me thinking about the game in a completely different way – both very tactically and on the ball, especially.
“I have improved a lot on my decision making as well. It’s very hard at this level to step up from the Championship – every decision you make is a vital one and can lead to an important or decisive part of the game.
“He has definitely helped me in that aspect.”