Have Palace unearthed a new Ian Wright?
How would Crystal Palace fans react if they discovered a new Ian Wright? Well keep it quiet but they may have, according to Under-23 boss Richard Shaw.
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Wright remains a club legend after his displays for the side between 1985 and 1991 and it wasn’t just his goals but the way he went about his football with a total hunger and desire to be better than the rest.
Eagles under-23 boss Shaw sees similar qualities in youngster Rob Street that he admired back in the day when he was lining up alongside the man who would go on to become an England regular.
The 17-year-old has yet to make a senior start for the club but is impressing in the under-23 side, netting twice in the destruction of Bolton on Monday, and he is already drawing comparisons with Wright.
Shaw believes Street has similarities to the former Gunner. Neither of them came through the youth ranks at the club with Street enduring the rigours of amateur football much like Wright did when he was handed his chance by then boss Steve Coppell after he had impressed whilst on trial from Greenwich Borough.
The under-23 boss is of the belief that the Academy route is not necessarily the best one for players and that they would learn a lot more about a real will to win and progress by playing in the lower reaches of amateur football
In fact, it’s the hunger Street shows that’s made Shaw make the lofty comparisons.
“I think that’s exactly where his mentality has come from,” he told your local Guardian. “Wrighty was so desperate to succeed and missed out on academy football so he thought it’s catch up time for me.
“I can only relate to Ian Wright because I saw it first-hand.
“I was lucky enough to be involved in the Palace academy and to watch the first training session Ian Wright had, when he was 21 on trial.
“He ripped the place apart and I remember sitting there as a kid, I was an apprentice at the time, watching him thinking that guy had so much hunger and desire.”
Palace fans could desperately do with another player of the calibre of Wright, who went on to score 117 goals for the Eagles before he was prized away, or his strike partner Mark Bright for that matter, and Shaw thinks they may have just found one.
Nick Harris is a long-standing journalist who specialises in football and rugby league. An avid golfer, Nick also follows the major boxing fights closely.